NGO Statement on the Magistrate’s Court judgement against Sean Anthony Mc Gahren
We, the undersigned non-governmental organisations and individuals, are gravely concerned by the decision of the Magistrate’s Court in the case against Sean Anthony McGahren. We feel it gives a message that aggressors can get away with almost anything when committing an offence of domestic violence. We are also deeply concerned to see that the prosecution decided to remove charges related to the offence following the victim’s wish to withdraw her complaint and that the Court acceded to the request.
We find this worrying given that the offence of domestic violence is an ‘ex officio´ nature and has been so since 2006. This was further consolidated with the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention that now forms part of our law as of the 14th May 2018. It is therefore of great concern to see that the highest authorities in our country, the very ones that are meant to protect the vulnerable are still ignorant of the law and the rights of victims.
Withdrawing charges of domestic violence was not only done contrary to law, but was in breach of the fundamental rights of women given that these type of offence committed constitute gender based violence. This is not the first time that prosecution and courts have taken this measure in cases of domestic violence, but in this particular case we cannot emphasis enough that arms proper were used and shots were fired. We question whether had the situation not been a domestic one, the offender would have got away with a fine.
Such decision by the prosecution and the courts send a message that domestic violence is condoned and that perpetrators are free from culpability. Women are and continue to remain victims of intimate partner violence and domestic abuse and such judgments do not promote the protection that is deserving and is putting women further into a more vulnerable position.
1 August 2018
This statement is issued by:
Women’s Rights Foundation
Victim Support Malta
SOAR, St Jeanne Antide Foundation
Men Against Violence
The Good Shepherd Sisters – Dar Merhba Bik Foundation
Programm Sebh – Dar Qalb Ta’Gesu
Malta Humanist Association
Dr. Marceline Naudi