“She’s against me,” Joseph Muscat declared in court referring to the magistrate leading the hospitals inquiry. But as soon as he stepped outside, he insisted, “I’m not attacking the judiciary.”
Muscat is panicking. He desperately wants to stop the investigation into the fraudulent hospitals deal. He wants the magistrate to stop gathering evidence and hearing testimonies. He wants to destroy evidence already collected. And he’s resorting to madcap tactics.
In his most recent wild move, he’s gone to court requesting the magistrate be forced out. His pretext for attempting to remove her is pathetic. The magistrate’s father, “Dottor Aldo Vella” shared a Facebook post – in 2019.
That was four full years ago. The magistrate’s father didn’t comment. He didn’t even mention Muscat. He simply shared an advert for a protest against corruption. But Muscat claimed the magistrate’s impartiality is compromised.
Muscat also presented a post uploaded by the magistrate’s brother “Dottor Massimo Vella”. He reacted to a comment stating that Adrian Delia’s hospitals case could have only been brought thanks to changes introduced by Labour.
In his Facebook retort, Vella commented, “So let me get this straight – we’re congratulating Labour for creating a mechanism to solve a mess of its own making. Good, that makes perfect sense.”
Joseph Muscat was never mentioned. By Labour’s standards, that post was pretty tepid. Even Muscat knows that. But he’s clutching at straws – and even the straws are trying to avoid him.
So Muscat asked Magistrate Gabriella Vella to recuse herself because members of her family uploaded Facebook posts, vaguely critical of Labour, but which egocentric Muscat interpreted as referring to him. If every magistrate with a family member who has ever commented about Labour were to recuse themselves, there wouldn’t be a magistrate left.
And that’s exactly Muscat’s cunning plan.
The real reason Muscat throws wrenches in the wheels of justice is because he knows that if those wheels keep turning, he’ll be crushed.
The magistrate rejected his request. Her brother and father had every right to express their own personal views. The magistrate never expressed rabid political views at a Muscat political event as Magistrate Nadine Lia had done. There was nothing in Muscat’s submissions that remotely required her recusal. “They were simply exerting their right to freedom of expression,” the magistrate declared.
Muscat pounced. He rushed to court, playing the victim, pleading for the protection of his ‘breached rights’. “The minute Magistrate Vella passed judgement about her father and brother, saying that their comments were freedom of expression, that minute she took their side against me,” he commented.
He not only wants her removed and he wants her removed with urgency. He wants her investigation to stop right now. His lawyer, Charlon Gouder, argued that the court must decide urgently – because it’s Joseph Muscat.
Gouder listed his reasons why Muscat deserves special treatment.
Firstly, because the case is “widely followed” and “it drew public attention”. That’s certainly not the case for ONE’s audience. The Labour media machine barely reported Muscat’s court appearance. ONE’s headline didn’t even mention Muscat. The whole article consisted of just five sentences.
Other media houses gave Muscat’s case huge coverage. Some reported minute-by-minute updates of proceedings. But Labour has had enough of him. It’s determined not to give him any more “public attention” – the very oxygen on which the narcissist survives.
If Muscat’s cause was as noble as he claims, wouldn’t Labour be right behind him? Wouldn’t ONE be ramming it down our throat? Instead, ONE hardly bothers reporting it at all.
Gouder’s principal justification for Muscat’s special treatment was that he’s “a former prime minister”. Isn’t everybody equal before the law? Why should Muscat get an urgent hearing while other citizens wait decades for justice?
Even the State Advocate insisted Muscat’s demands for “an interim measure” be refused. The State Advocate’s lawyer pointed out such urgent measures are reserved for extraordinary situations – extradition, deportation or threats to life and limb.
He sarcastically added, “Thankfully Dr Muscat is facing none of these.”
“So let’s allow the institutions to work, let’s let justice take its course,” the State Advocate’s lawyer jibed. That must have stung. How Muscat’s jaw must have tightened and the veins on his forehead bulged. Even the lawyer is having a laugh at Muscat’s egomania.
“If Muscat’s request is acceded to, there is the danger that certain evidence might be lost or destroyed – the court would be stultifying the inquiry,” the State Advocate warned. Isn’t that precisely what Muscat is after? As the noose tightens, Muscat is getting more frantic and ridiculous.
Muscat’s behaviour is reminiscent of that other pathological liar, Boris Johnson. After being denounced by the privileges committee, Johnson blamed everybody, threw mud in every direction and accused the chair, Harriet Harman, of bias.
He’s called the committee a “kangaroo court” and its findings “a load of tripe”. He’s accused Harman of having “prejudicial views” because, as a Labour MP, she condemned his falsehoods.
Like Johnson, Muscat’s behaviour has been absolutely appalling, both during his time in government and now that he’s being investigated.
Like Johnson, he’s turning on the magistrate, attempting to intimidate her into submission with false accusations. He’s intent on discrediting her and impugning her integrity.
The magisterial inquiry has been ongoing since 2019. If Muscat doubted the magistrate’s impartiality, why did he wait until now to act? The answer is obvious. He’s starting to realise that the truth is being uncovered.
He’s suddenly aware that his impunity is no longer guaranteed – his Labour pals are no longer sticking their necks out for him.
His support is decimated, his power evaporated.
Despite Boris Johnson’s bluster, a recent YouGov poll showed that only 17% of the population believe him. 65% think he’s a liar. Maybe it’s time YouGov asked Malta what it thinks about Muscat.
The two former leaders have one more thing in common – their lies and deceit keep causing untold damage to their parties and their countries. But the greatest damage they inflicted was on themselves.