Updated 2.50pm - Added PN statement
The daughter of Environment Minister Josè Herrera has been appointed commissioner for justice.
The two-year appointment of Martina Herrera, 25, who received her lawyer’s warrant in February 2017, was approved by the Prime Minister on the recommendation of Justice Minister Owen Bonnici.
Legal sources said Dr Herrera, the youngest of the minister’s children, graduated in November and started practising law at her father’s firm – Josè Herrera and Associates – in March.
Her appointment follows normal procedures... her name was put forward by the Justice Ministry
Commissioners for justice preside over local tribunals and decide traffic and other minor offences.
No replies were forthcoming from the Office of the Prime Minister when asked whether it was ethical for the Prime Minister to appoint the daughter of one of his Cabinet ministers to a judicial post.
Asked on what merits was Dr Herrera appointed, a spokesman for the Office of the Prime Minister replied: “Dr Martina Herrera is eligible and qualified for the post which, by and large, decides appeals on fines given by local wardens.
“Her appointment follows normal procedures – as happens in all cases related to commissioners for justice – and [her name] was put forward by the Justice Ministry.”
The Nationalist Party disagreed with that assessment, saying in a statement that Dr Herrera's appointment was "the worst case of nepotism".
Her appointment, the PN said, continued the Labour Party trend of putting friendly faces in judicial positions, such as making former PL deputy leader Toni Abela a judge.
"Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done," the PN said. "Appointments such as this one make people lose faith in local justice."
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