Second judge recuses himself in Vitals case over magisterial inquiry

Judge Aaron Bugeja abstains from hearing request to open inquiry into Vitals privatisation due to ongoing judicial appointments case filed by NGO Repubblika

Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja
Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja

Madam Justice Edwina Grima will be hearing the appeal filed by three ministers against a decision to open a magisterial inquiry into the Vitals deal after Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja abstained from hearing the case due to the ongoing judicial appointments case filed by Repubblika.

Ministers Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi and Edward Scicluna had filed the appeal the day after Magistrate Doreen Clarke had confirmed that there were sufficient grounds for the inquiry to be held.

That appeal had originally been assigned to Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera who recused herself on the grounds that her brother, Environment Minister Jose’ Herrera was a colleague of the subjects. 

READ MORE: VGH hospitals appeal will not be heard by Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera

The case was then assigned to Mr Justice Bugeja who, in a decree delivered on Friday, also chose to recuse himself, making it clear that he was doing so due to the case filed by Repubblika, challenging the system of judicial appointments.

Repubblika’s case, in which a reference was requested to the European Court of Justice, attacked the appointment of six members of the judiciary who were appointed in April. Mr. Justice Bugeja is one of them. 

Mr. Bugeja decreed that despite having nothing to do with the case, his recusal was required to have justice “seen to be done with utmost integrity, beyond any shadow of doubt and suspicions of impartiality, prejudices, favours or injustices.”

The case continues.

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