THE Leader of the Opposition has claimed that ‘government interference with the judiciary’ could be behind the departure of a leading judge from Gibraltar.
Roy Clinton fears that outgoing Judge Jack fell out with the government after ‘ruffling its feathers’, and the failure to renew his contract is not due to saving money.
He told the Olive Press that there are ‘obvious concerns that there has been interference with the judiciary’.
“I know certain feathers have been ruffled (by Jack). I fear that is the real reason he has gone.”
He continued: “The suggestion that there has been something untoward is concerning. I sincerely hope it is not the case.”
He is now demanding that the Justice Minister comes clean on the affair and clarifies the real reasons why the £130,000-a-year judge has not had his contract renewed.
He revealed that the GSD has now written to Costa and called on him to issue a statement.
“Costa must make a comment and he has not given one yet. He has been very quiet and this is a very serious matter.”
He explained that he would be under pressure to be completely truthful as the minister must swear an additional separate oath in parliament as the minister of justice.
Clinton added that he saving money could surely not be the justification for not keeping the judge.
“Given the salary of a judge is only £130,000 I don’t really believe it is a budget measure,” he continued.
“It is not millions and we can afford that. On top of that, as he generates business for Gibraltar, he actually pays his way.”
Intriguingly he added the UK government ‘may have a view now’ as the Governor appoints judges.
Meanwhile, Gibraltar’s Bar Council, which represents Gibraltar’s lawyers, is due to meet to discuss the matter.
Leading barrister Charles Gomez told the Olive Press he hopes the council will do a thorough investigation and get to the bottom of the matter.
“I am sure that the Bar Council will do an Agatha Christie and get to the bottom of this. I wait with bated breath,” Gomez told the Olive Press.
The government has twice told the Olive Press there would be ‘no further comment’ on the Judge Jack issue.