Jul 23 - Dr Giraldi Inquiry Second Preliminary Hearing

Sir Jonathan Parker, QC, the chairman of the Dr Giraldi Home Inquiry, opened the second preliminary hearing this morning by saying that a “great deal of hard work” had already been undertaken in the collection and preparation of witness statements.

The aim of the inquiry is to report to Government any facts discovered relating to various allegations of mismanagement and abuse at the home. These allegations were brought to light in 2006 during an industrial tribunal for the unfair dismissal of Joanna Hernandez who was a manager at the home.

The hearing proceeded with the tabling of various submissions from the legal representatives of workers and residents at the home covering matters relating to funding, the notification of new allegations, the collection of documents and the protection of the privacy of residents. Throughout, Sir Jonathan repeated the message that the inquiry is not a criminal or a civil trial and that he would do his best to ensure that the public purse was not burdened with excessive legal costs.

Sir Jonathan also said he would make several changes to the official list of issues to be covered in the inquiry with the main change being that, in one particular case, allegations predating November 2002 will also be investigated.

Sir Jonathan said that he had visited the home yesterday in order to familiarise himself with the layout of the building. He took the opportunity, he said, to speak to some of the residents but it was not his intention to collect any evidence.

Keith Azzopardi, QC, summarised some of the progress made on the evidence collection front including the “electronic platform” to which documents are already being uploaded and to which counsel will have selective access.

The main hearing is scheduled for the end of September.