Bedingfield accuses police of persecuting Muscat in House speech

Glenn Bedingfield calls Joseph Muscat property raid ‘persecution by the police’ in scathing House speech attacking judiciary

Former Labour leader Joseph Muscat with government whip Glenn Bedingfield in a 2017 election rally
Former Labour leader Joseph Muscat with government whip Glenn Bedingfield in a 2017 election rally

Labour Whip Glenn Bedingfield came out with a scathing attack on the judiciary, calling the raid on Joseph Muscat’s property “persecution”.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, the Labour MP questioned the judiciary’s independence, and how it is not being allowed to work “without favour and prejudice.”

“Are we sure the judiciary is not crumbling under the pressures exerted by certain MPs, NGOs and civil society?” he said.

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s private Burmarrad residence was raided by police last Wednesday, as part of a corruption probe into the Vitals Global Healthcare hospitals deal.

Bedingfield found issue with how the raid was carried out. “They were not humane in how they carried out the search. They searched his daughters’ school bags; what did they think they were going to find? Where is the humanity?”

He also questioned leaks to the media on the raid. “They went at 7am. An uncomfortable time for almost everyone, but not for those who send journalists there, even before the police. This is persecution by the police!”

“What was Robert Aquilina (NGO Repubblika President) doing there?”

The MP said that someone has to explain how PN MP Jason Azzopardi knew of the search warrant just minutes after it was issued. He also claimed the PN MP is leaking information on investigations to the media.

He said leaks to the media and NGOs should be investigated by the Chief Justice. “Should the judiciary not inquire on these actions?”

Bedingfield went on to claim that certain institutions, like the Standards Commissioner and Ombudsman, have been snatched by individuals close to the Nationalist Party to tarnish the Labour Party’s reputation.

“I see no coincidence that George Hyzler’s office is in the same building as the Ombudsman’s. They are today’s opposition. They are so weak that they need to use institutions against government,” he said. “That is why I still believe we are the underdog, because the establishment always worked against the Labour Party.”

He said institutions should be allowed to work independently. “The principle of good governance should not be adopted the government only, but by everyone. Everyone should be held accountable.”