The Attorney General’s decision not to prosecute major criminal cases can now be put to a judicial review thanks to a legal reform introduced this week.

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis told a press conference on Friday that a legal notice published on Thursday had introduced the possibility of “judicial review of administrative action”. 

This, Zammit Lewis said, meant that decisions taken by the state prosecutor not to charge certain people in court will not necessarily be final. 

Now, those known as “injured parties”, the victims and other persons directly impacted by the alleged offence, will be free to have a magistrate review the matter. 

Zammit Lewis said the reform was part of the government’s effort to regain public confidence in the judicial process. 

Insisting he was “not referring to anyone present today”, Zammit Lewis said there had been decisions not to prosecute in the past that had not gone down well with the public. 

A second reform, also published Thursday, will see major criminal cases such as murder and money laundering, start to be prosecuted by the state prosecutor rather than the police. 

This, Zammit Lewis said, was also part of the reform process to split the office of the attorney general into a state prosecutor and state advocate. 

Asked by Times of Malta why no one had applied to fill the post of state advocate, Zammit Lewis said he had his own opinions on the matter but did not want to prejudice the process. 

The application process was open and transparent, without any political interference. 

Zammit Lewis said earlier 15 new lawyers had recently joined the office of the state prosecutor. 

Another five are expected to join in the coming weeks.

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