On the 30th March 2010 the Minister for Justice, the Hon Daniel Feetham, gave GBC an interview that was transmitted on Newswatch. One would have thought that following the protracted and expensive proceedings to remove Schofield as Chief Justice of Gibraltar, a Minister of the incumbent GSD Government would take great care not to be imprudent in comments made about the present members of the senior judiciary.
Not so, instead during this interview, Mr Feetham chose to praise both the Hon Mr Justice Dudley CJ and the Hon Ms Justice Prescott PJ. This imprudent praise may be capable of some forgiveness but the context in which that praise was made becomes more difficult to forgive or at least understand. Mr Feetham praised them both for the assistance apparently given by them to the GSD Government in the field of law reform.
Once again the clear lines that should be drawn between each arm of government, namely the legislature, executive and judiciary (most importantly between the judiciary and the other two arms, which in any event in Gibraltar are synonymous with each other) is being blurred. Not only does the GSD Government drag the judiciary into matters that are more properly decided by them, i.e. the issue of the age of consent for sexual relations, but a Minister considers it appropriate to laud judges in legislative matters.
Is the independence of the judiciary under threat?