by a Blog Reader

As this blog pointed out, a court decree by Judge Miriam Hayman expressed concerns about Andrea Prudente’s behaviour during a previous court sitting. To remove the concern, I suggest that Prudente should be asked to either show up in person in the Maltese court or else give a deposition from abroad under court-controlled supervision. This would rule out the shenanigans of the last court session when political activist Jay Weeldreyer was giving evidence and fellow Prudente (as seen in earlier photo) turned out to be next to him, listening to him.

Weeldreyer & Prudente

Prudente had been excused from coming to Malta because, among other things, she provided medical evidence that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD sufferers may panic when reminded of their trauma. They are prone to hypervigilance, irritability, or aggressive behaviourwhen they are reminded of what they went through. And yet, there she was calmly listening to Jay Weeldreyer’s account of her abortion story. So much for her PTSD symptoms and their limitations on her.

Judge Hayman did not buy into the pair’s behaviour. The court is now insisting that Prudente must assure the court that she is not subject to any influence during her online deposition. Therefore, the court wants assurance that Andrea Prudente is alone when giving her testimony.

I would like to point out that there are only three ways that the court can get meaningful assurance. Either Prudente comes to Malta to give evidence in court. Or she gets a court-appointed invigilator to supervise her deposition in Seattle. Or else, Prudente could opt for proctoring software while giving her deposition.

By providing alternative ways that Prudente could give her deposition, the court would keep the online proctoring GDPR compliant. GDPR refers to the General Data Protection Regulation, as enacted by the EU for privacy and security purposes. The court should also provide her with sufficient privacy and policy notices that would allow Prudente to understand exactly how her data would be processed. The court should ensure that the selected external software vendor has sufficient privacy notices in place.

In the Rosianne Cutajar case, the defendant Mark Camilleri was asked to present himself in court even though he is living outside Malta. But Andrea Prudente is treated with kids’ gloves. Both should be given the same options for their depositions.

The Maltese courts should complete a vendor assessment, and evaluate the risks associated with online proctoring software. For transparency’s sake, the courts should document why they prefer a particular software vendor.

The above simple options would eliminate both the risk of a GDPR violation and the suspicion that a witness could be under the influence of outside assistance while giving a deposition. There are different parties to every court case. All deserve peace of mind about the integrity of the deposition process.

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