A statement released by the Malta Observatory on Femicide raised concerns by the ‘latest acquittal of Sion Grech’s femicide trial.’
‘Justice delayed has been justice denied’ the observatory said, showing their full support to Sion’s family as well as the LGBTIQ+ community and women in Malta.
The statement pointed out how the observatory is deeply troubled by the length of time the case took to reach a jury.
The lack of proper preservation of evidence and inadmissibility of evidence due to it not being properly kept at law, as well as the lack of sensitivity towards the victim and the witnesses, despite that the Istanbul Convention clearly stating that the past of victim should not be used to tarnish the victim’s reputation and credibility also raised concerns.
The observatory now calls upon the courts to ensure continuous ongoing training to its members of the judiciary with regards to their duty. The observatory calls on Chamber of Advocates and the Faculty of laws to provide ongoing training to lawyers and all those working in the legal profession with regards to re-victimisation.
The effects of harmful attitudes and negative impact of gender stereotyping as well as obligations set forth by various laws and treaties should also be highlighted the statement said.
‘We call on the Government to provide the courts with a more expedient and efficient mechanism’ and on the state to ‘that there is an ongoing awareness raising campaign on the Istanbul Convention as well as better understanding of the needs and compassion towards those most vulnerable in our society.’
Sion’s body was found amid a carpet of flowers in a field near the roundabout known as is-Salib tal-Marsa on April 13th 2005, eight days after she was reported missing by her father. Autopsies revealed she had been stabbed 17 times.
Eight years later, Sion’s partner Ismael Habesh and another man, Faical Mohouachi, were charged with the murder. They were found not guilty following a decade before the trial by jury could start.