The Chamber of Advocates on Monday warned Robert Abela against turning the hospitals' inquiry into a scapegoat to deflect attention from the need for procedural reforms within the justice sector.

Lawyers also urged the Prime Minister to refrain from personal attacks against the judiciary to gain political mileage. 

The chamber was reacting to a five-minute outburst by the Prime Minister on Friday.

Last week Abela stridently criticised Magistrate Gabriella Vella for, in his view, taking too long to conclude a magisterial inquiry into people involved in the fraudulent hospitals' privatisation deal.

Without mentioning the magistrate by name, Abela said the inquiry was taking too long and questioned whether it was being timed to coincide with the European Parliament elections, to be held this summer.

His criticism echoes that of his predecessor Joseph Muscat, who is fighting in court to have the magistrate taken off the case. Muscat alleges that Vella is not impartial because of social media posts published by her relatives.

In a statement on Monday, the PN said it expected Abela to issue a public apology for his comments.

In a separate statement, the Chamber of Advocates acknowledged that four and a half years were "indeed a considerable duration" for the conclusion of an inquiry. However, one also needed to consider other matters being handled by magistrates, as well as their ever-increasing caseload, the chamber added.

"Indeed it is imperative to recognise that the issues at hand extend beyond the specifics of this case. There is a pressing need to reassess and enhance the overall system governing inquiries, not only in this particular instance."

So much so that the government recently appointed a number of magistrates to focus on inquiries, it said.

"It is crucial to refrain from using this case as a scapegoat to deflect attention from the broader need for procedural reforms that lie within the purview of that very entity empowered to enact such changes, led by the Prime Minister who is the individual responsible for making such comments.

"Moreover, it is paramount that any discourse surrounding the inquiry process refrains from engaging in personal attacks against the Judiciary purely to gain political mileage for an entity or individual."

The chamber said the judiciary played a vital role in upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for all, and any critique should be conducted with respect and adherence to due process.

The chamber also urged for a "serene environment" for the Judiciary to carry out its duties effectively.

"Creating an atmosphere conducive to fair and impartial adjudication is essential for maintaining public trust and confidence in the legal system."

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