The Malta Observatory on Femicide said on Wednesday it is concerned by the latest acquittal in Sion Grech’s trial.
On January 20, a nine-person jury cleared Ismael Habesh and Faical Mohouachi of murdering Grech and dumping her body in a Marsa field.
In a statement, the group said:
“We cannot but show our full support to Sion’s family and the LGBTIQ community and women in Malta and note that justice delayed, has been justice denied.”
The observatory said it was deeply troubled by:
- The length of time that this case took to reach a jury;
- The lack of proper preservation and inadmissibility of evidence due to it not being adequately kept at law;
- The lack of sensitivity towards the victim and the witnesses, in spite of the Istanbul Convention clearly stating that a victim's past should not be used to tarnish the victim’s reputation and credibility; and
- Comments passed about the lifestyle of the victim and witnesses.
It called on the courts to ensure continuous ongoing training to members of the judiciary with regards to their duty.
They had to show sensitivity and understand the requirements set forth by the Istanbul Convention as well as harmful attitudes and the negative impact of gender stereotyping.
The observatory also called upon the Chamber of Advocates and the Faculty of Laws to provide ongoing training to lawyers and those working in the legal profession on re-victimisation, the effects of harmful attitudes and the negative impact of gender stereotyping as well as obligations set forth by laws and treaties.
The group called on the government to provide the courts with a more expedient and efficient mechanism and on the State to ensure that there is an ongoing awareness-raising campaign on the Istanbul Convention.
It called for better understanding of the needs and compassion towards those most vulnerable in society.