In an appearance on RTK103 programme Għal Kulħadd, presented by Christine Delicata, the archbishop also stressed that people accused of a crime were presumed innocent until proven otherwise, urging the public to respect this presumption.

In his intervention, Archbishop Scicluna recognised that public discourse would become particularly heated in the midst of an electoral campaign, but insisted that any political dialogues must be centred in dignity.

“People need serenity to make their choices, and they need to be informed properly,” he said.

The archbishop appealed to everyone to take heed of the recent appeal by President Myriam Spiteri Debono for prudence and caution to allow the courts and the judiciary to function in a calm and serene atmosphere.

 “We need to respect the institutions, but we also need to respect one another,” he said.

It is at this point that he referred to the presumption of innocence, in an apparent indirect reference to the various individuals – including former prime minister Joseph Muscat – who face charges in relation to the hospitals inquiry.

“We often forget these things, so as I defend the right of journalists to ask the most uncomfortable questions and not be pressured for doing their work, I also defend the right of the accused to be presumed innocent until our institutions – our courts, not our politicians – determine otherwise.”


Photo: Miguela Xuereb