The Malta Independent 23 June 2024, Sunday
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More people accused in hospitals case complain that they were not given chance to testify

Albert Galea Friday, 17 May 2024, 08:55 Last update: about 2 months ago

More people who are facing charges in the hospitals case have complained that they were not given the chance to testify before the inquiring magistrate or the Attorney General and Police prior to being charged.

Brian Bondin, Pierre Sladden, Giuseppe Musarella, Ivan Vassallo, and the companies Taomac Ltd, Gateway Solutions Ltd and Eurybates Limited filed a judicial protest against the Attorney General a day after charges were issued in the hospitals case, arguing that their rights had been breached.

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Bondin, Sladden and Vassallo together with the three companies are all facing money laundering charges in connection with the recently concluded inquiry which looked into the Vitals Global Healthcare hospitals concession.

Musarella’s name does not appear on the two charge sheets issued on 6 May which have been seen by the Malta Independent.

In the protest, the complainants noted that “in the four-and-a-half years that the inquiry before Magistrate Gabriella Vella ran, they were never asked to give their testimony or be given the right to be heard so that they may clear themselves of the suspicions around them and their alleged bad behaviour.”

The continued that during these period, the complainants were never interrogated by the Commissioner for Police or any police official for as long as this investigation has been ongoing.

“This means that their right to a fair hearing among other rights will potentially be breached,” the judicial protest reads.

The complainants said that their right to defend themselves and to explain themselves and establish and reaffirmed their innocence before being charged have also been breached.

Much like former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat did in a separate judicial protest, the complainants said that they would hold the Attorney General “in deceit, at fault, and in default” for the effects that the case against them will have.

They also formally advised of their intentions to table other judicial processes to “safeguard their interests and for any damages which result from the action or lack thereof” of the Attorney General.

The judicial protest was signed by lawyer Arthur Azzopardi.

It was filed a couple of days before a judicial protest filed by Muscat argued that his rights had been breached on similar grounds.

Muscat claimed that his fundamental rights were breached as he was not questioned by police prior to being charged and also argued that he was also unable to effectively prepare a defence because the police had not given him access to the evidence of the case.

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