We refer to a blogpost by Simon Mercieca put up on his website on 5 March, 2024, entitled “Il-Kurja ser tippubblika l-annullament ta’ Jason Azzopardi kif kienet għamlet b’ta’ Alfred Sant meta għaddietu lil Daphne Caruana Galizia ħalli tumiljah?”

Once again, Professor Mercieca is making serious and harmful allegations against the Ecclesiastical Tribunal and the President of the Regional Tribunal of Second Instance, Mgr Joseph Bajada, which are false and require clarification.

1.       Had Professor Mercieca made the slightest attempt to verify his central allegation, he would have discovered that Dr Sant’s annulment case was a matter for the civil courts. It never came before the Ecclesiastical Tribunal. Therefore, his allegation that the Ecclesiastical Tribunal leaked details of Dr Sant’s case is false in its entirety. This fact is a matter of public record and easily ascertainable through a basic internet search.

2.       Despite a clarification issued by the Archdiocese to a previous erroneous post by Professor Mercieca, he repeats the falsity that the Chancellor of the appeals tier of the Regional Ecclesiastical Tribunal doubles as the Chancellor for the Metropolitan Tribunal of first instance. If he had carried out a simple Google search – or visited the Archdiocese of Malta website – he would have discovered that each division has a separate chancellor.

3.       Professor Mercieca states that Mgr Bajada teaches at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Malta, and questions why the Archdiocese is not asking him to resign from that position. If Professor Mercieca had made any attempt to verify the contents of his statement, he would have discovered that Mgr Bajada did in fact retire from the Faculty at least six years ago.

4.       Professor Mercieca alleges that Jason Azzopardi’s annulment case was “fast tracked”. The reality is that it took almost five years to be determined when decisions in most cases are delivered within 18 months.

5.       Professor Mercieca’s blogpost contains several other allegations and statements which are either inaccurate and untrue. 

We wish to reassure the public that the contents of proceedings before the Ecclesiastical Tribunal are strictly reserved for the parties concerned and their legal representatives, and we will not allow the reputation and integrity of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, or that of the individuals within it, to be sullied by Professor Mercieca’s false statements and allegations.

Mgr Joseph Bajada         
President of the Regional Tribunal of Second Instance

Mgr Brendan Gatt           
Judicial Vicar at the Metropolitan Tribunal of Malta