The Medical Council of Malta will not appeal a court judgment that threw out its investigation into doctor and Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri.

A judge had ruled that Spiteri’s rights to a fair hearing were breached when the council investigated him for allegedly signing medical certificates without examining patients.

The Medical Council told Times of Malta “it is not in the council’s intention to submit an appeal”, adding it will respect the court’s decision.

Legal sources also told Times of Malta that the attorney general – who is also entitled to appeal the judgment – does not intend to do so either.

The judgment was delivered two weeks ago, when a constitutional court nullified the Medical Council’s proceedings against Spiteri after it found they were in breach of his fundamental rights.

The judge said the council’s multiple functions – from investigation to prosecution and issuing penalties – made it a “classic case of a structural lack of objective impartiality”.

But the council’s investigation into Spiteri was essentially how all reported allegations have always been treated and carried out and sources said the judgment raised fears of a precedent that might impact most ongoing investigations and future ones.

Times of Malta asked the council whether it is concerned that this judgment sets a precedent for its other probes and whether it will push for an amendment to the law to allow it to work within a more clearly defined investigative framework.

The council was very coy in its reply, saying only that it has taken “cognizance of the court sentence and is currently discussing the way forward with its legal advisors in this regard”.

It is understood the council intends to push parliament to change the law to avoid similar situations occurring in the future.

Legal sources said that to avoid a judge, jury and prosecutor situation in the future, the council will likely suggest that an independent body is set up to take decisions on complaints filed against a doctor.

The council could still retain the power to receive the complaints, process them and investigate them but it would then need to pass the case on to the independent body which would be tasked with delivering a ruling and decide on any sanctions, if necessary.

The amended law would also allow a doctor who is found guilty to take the case to a court of appeal.

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