A lawyer who was found guilty by a London court of theft and fraud is still serving as a court expert in Malta, even on sensitive cases connected to fraud and falsification of documents.

This newspaper learnt that even though the authorities and the administration of court, including the Chief Justice, have been warned about this situation, Martin Bajada is still acting as a court expert on the specific orders of various members of the judiciary.

Documents seen by this newspaper issued by Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court show that in 1993, Dr Bajada pleaded guilty to 10 counts of theft and was handed a two-year suspended sentence.

The court documents also show that Dr Bajada, at the time still an employee of Air Malta, stole £46,710 (€59,329).

According to the court documents, Dr Bajada “dishonestly with a view to gain for yourself or another or with intent to cause loss to another did falsify an account made or required for an accounting purpose namely a quantity of payment authorisation vouchers.”

The Sunday Times of Malta asked Dr Bajada whether it was true that he is still acting as a court expert despite his criminal record and to state how many magistrates he is currently serving.

When contacted, Dr Bajada acknowledged that he had received the questions but said he did not wish to reply.

“I am not obliged to reply to your questions,” he said.

Court experts are appointed on the specific instructions of members of the judiciary and are paid through public funds for their services. Many experts are paid tens of thousands each year for this part-time job.

The Sunday Times of Malta has been informed that although Dr Bajada has been acting as a court expert for a long period of time, it is only two years ago that official court documents from the London court were obtained and presented to the court’s administration as proof of his convictions. Yet it has since taken no action.

This newspaper is also informed that formal complaints have been lodged before the Commission for the Administration of Justice, the judiciary’s watchdog, to give the necessary guidance to members of the bench.

In 2013, the Bonello Law Reform Commission had proposed a complete revamp in the way court experts are appointed including due diligence on their integrity and criminal record before being appointed to act as court officials.

The commission also suggested the drawing up of experts’ registers so that all those qualified can be listed and made available to the judiciary.

The Chamber of Advocates had called the current experts appointment system as “a racket” where what mattered was how friendly experts were with magistrates and police inspectors.

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