There were no grounds for Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar or Attorney General Peter Grech to resign, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said yesterday.

He was asked to react to demonstrators’ demands for the resignation of Mr Cutajar and Dr Grech during two civil society marches held since the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Mr Fearne said that while Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera had decided not to conduct the inquiry because of a conflict of interest, in the case of both Mr Cutajar and Dr Grech it was “not an issue of resignation”.

“On the day of the brutal murder, we met with the Opposition and there was an immediate message, even from the family, that the magistrate did not enjoy their trust. Although it was not our decision, but of the Chief Justice, we agreed it would be appropriate for another magistrate to step in.

“In fact, the magistrate recused herself,” Mr Fearne said.

When asked why the same had not happened with regard to Mr Cutajar and Dr Grech, Mr Fearne insisted that “this is not an issue of resignation… We have to let them do their job.

“This has to be about allowing justice to take its course.”

He pointed out that international law enforcement agencies were assisting the police in their investigations into the murder.

Also, the police were putting all their resources into the probe.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has stood by both Dr Grech and Mr Cutajar, insisting a “public lynching” of national institutions would not see justice served.

But the demonstrators persisted in demanding that both men must step down, as the Prime Minister himself should do too, they added.

Mr Fearne noted that he had attended the first march held in Valletta earlier this month.

“I was part of that march to show that, as a country, we will not hold back from condemning criminality. I was there to show my support and that of the government,” he said.

Mr Fearne said he acknowledged that a section of the population was showing “lack of trust in certain people and institutions”, adding that he did not think this was healthy.

“We have to improve institutions and the people’s perception of them so that they will trust them,” he said.

“We said we wanted to do this in our electoral manifesto. We want to look at the whole process, integrally, of improving our Constitution.”

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