What happened yesterday in court puts the University of Malta in bad light. A lecturer in the Faculty of Law threatened a university law student with failing her in the examines if she dared to quote a decree that was issued by the Magistrate Courts. This lawyer is Jason Azzopardi. This is a very serious threat that no institution worth its salt can allow without taking any action. It is even more serious because this threat comes from a lawyer who prides himself as the champion of honesty, the bulwark of the Catholic faith and the rule of law.
There is no doubt that his behaviour is toxic to say the least. It shows the double standards of this man. In simple words, Azzopardi threatened a student to use his position of power in the Faculty of Laws and as examiner, to fail her if she dared quote such a decree. When this student, who is also an employee of the court called his bluff and reported the matter to the magistrate, Azzopardi filed a note to say that he was only joking. Lecturers cannot joke in this way. One needs to remember that in the law course, students are expected to quote sentences and magistrates’ decrees. They are trained to do so.
When I first read this story in the Malta Today, I thought that Azzopardi was at odds with the way the language of the decree that this student, who happens also to be court registrar, failed in writing it down correctly as normally decrees are dictated in court. But no. The deputy registrar did her work well. What happened is that Jason Azzopardi did not agree with the verdict passed by the Magistrate in her decree because it was not in his favour. It was in this spirit that he threatened the student that if she quoted such a decree in the exam, he would fail here. How can students be failed for quoting a court decree because simply, the lawyer in question has a different opinion, or as it is in this case, was not in his favour?
For sure, Jason Azzopardi should be honest enough to resign from his position at University. He and the organizations that he represents are continuously asking for the resignations of individuals for any perceived wrong doing. There is no perception here. This is a fact to the extent that the magistrate ordered an investigation by the body that regulates the legal profession. This is a serious case. If he fails to resign from University, he should be expelled or stopped from teaching.
I wish to remind the readers that the Caruana Galizia family, who is represented in court by Azzopardi had requested the University to expel me for writing about their case. On my part, I never used my position at University to exercise pressure on students or have I ever stated that I am writing on behalf of the University. Repubblika and its supporters joined in asking for my expulsion from university. I wish to remind the readers that Jason Azzopardi was the lawyer of Repubblika. What is Manuel Delia going to do faced with this highly toxic and serious case where his lawyer threatens a student to fail her for simply quoting a magistrate’s decree?