Expediting inquiries should not violate judicial independence and victims’ rights. Bill 39/2023 proposes violating judicial independence in inquiries concerning workplace injury and death. The Bill’s text obliges magistrates who are presiding over inquiries to admit Occupational Health and Safety Officers to hearings and to allow them to question witnesses and experts.
The OHSA is an Executive authority. Its direct involvement in magisterial inquiries constitutes interference by the Executive in judicial independence. The concerns raised by this proposed breach cannot be justified by dubious claims of efficiency, particularly as OHSA failure should be investigated as a possible contributory factor in workplace injury or death.
Bill 39/2023, “An Act to further amend the Criminal Code, Cap. 9.” is being discussed in Committee today. It should be defeated. The need to expedite inquiries in the interests of efficiency should not come at the expense of justice and the human rights of victims and their families.