The Malta Independent 23 June 2024, Sunday
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Joseph Muscat drops case on magistrate’s recusal, opens another to battle 'political frame-up'

Monday, 25 March 2024, 12:31 Last update: about 4 months ago

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has withdrawn a court case in which he claimed to have suffered a breach of fundamental rights in relation to the Vitals-Steward magisterial inquiry.

When the case was called before Madam Justice Doreen Clarke on Monday, the judge observed that the plaintiff had, earlier today, filed a note in the acts, in which he ceded the case. 

The note provides no explanation for Muscat’s decision to withdraw the case, however in a lengthy post on Facebook uploaded this morning, the disgraced former Prime Minister said he had been advised by his lawyers to do so, because of “the new lawsuit I filed against the State Advocate and the Attorney General which includes the requests that I was continuously being prevented from filing.”

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In his Facebook post, Muscat said he had dropped his case calling for the recusal of a magistrate from holding an inquiry into the hospitals deal, while opening another against the Attorney General and the State Advocate.

In his explanation on the social media, Muscat said that NGO Repubblika had testified that they had never indicated him as a person against whom an investigation should be carried out.

But, he said, Magistrate Gabriella Vella did not abstain from the inquiry after the “partisan speech” that her “father and brother made against me” on the hospitals deal, and “she still chose to involve me and send police to my home”.

Magistrate Vella is holding a magisterial inquiry into the hospitals' deal which saw three public hospitals passed on to be run by the private sector when Muscat was PM. The deal was rescinded by the courts last year, and the hospitals have returned under government control.

In his Facebook post, Muscat claimed to have been prevented from filing a mysterious document that “reveals the truth. But Repubblika doesn't want to exhibit it because they are afraid that their dirty game will be revealed to be nothing but a fishing expedition which hasn’t found anything after five whole years.”

Muscat said that the rule of law is there for everyone, and this is why he chose to file a new case to say that his fundamental rights are being broken when he could not offer the best defence in court.

Those who have nothing to hide do not hold back from presenting proof, Muscat said, adding that he had paid taxes on work he carried out. He said he never escaped and will not try to escape now “so that the evidence on this political frame-up are exposed and become accessible to everyone”.

Sooner or later the truth will emerge as the Egrant case did, Muscat said, and when this happens those responsible for the "political frame-up" will have to be held accountable.

Robert Aquilina, in a Facebook post, described Muscat dropping the case as a ‘heroic victory’. Aquilina said that Muscat ended up "with his back against the wall and dropped the case he opened to try and stop an inquiring magistrate from investigating him regarding the fraudulent sale of three Maltese hospitals." He said he awaits Muscat to make other attempts to "escape justice."


 

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