Updated 6.30pm

Sections of the Vitals magisterial inquiry that refer to Joseph Muscat are to be made available to him, a court decreed on Thursday.

Judge Giovanni Grixti ordered the Attorney General to present every document in the inquiry’s records about the former prime minister - from the moment his name cropped up in the case until the end of the investigation - saying that he could not accurately reach a conclusion without seeing them.

The judge made that decision in a case that Muscat filed alleging that his rights were breached by allowing a particular magistrate to investigate him.

Muscat, former minister Konrad Mizzi and former chief of staff Keith Schembri are among dozens facing criminal charges filed following the recommendations of that inquiry into the scandal-racked deal to privatise three state hospitals.

The inquiry documents ordered into that case on Thursday are to be kept by the court and only made available to parties in the case, the judge said. 

Muscat will only be given access to the parts of the inquiry that concern him, the judge said. All other sections of the probe will remain with the Attorney General unless future hearings in the case presided by Judge Grixti require them. 

If the State Advocate intends to appeal that decision, it has just four days to do so, as the judge slashed the usual 10-day limit to ensure Muscat’s lawyers receive the documents before a criminal case that is based on them begins.

Criminal charges were filed against Muscat and two dozen others earlier this week. They allege that Muscat received bribes and traded in influence in connection with the privatisation deal with Vitals Global Healthcare [later Steward].

Muscat's Thursday court success in obtaining parts of the criminal inquiry could add pressure on the Attorney General to make the entire report public, as other defendants facing criminal charges as a result of the inquiry will be tempted to file their own court proceedings to obtain access.

All defendants are assured access to the inquiry once they are arraigned before a criminal court, but it remains unknown when those arraignments will take place.

Joseph Muscat not in court

The former prime minister was not present in court for Thursday’s session but as the case did not concern those criminal charges, he was not required to attend.

Instead, Muscat appeared on local TV station F Living shortly after the court hearing to say he would disprove the "hatchet job" and then focus his energies on suing those who had kindled it. 

Thursday’s session concerned Muscat’s attempt to halt the investigation that led to the criminal charges he insists are trumped-up. Led by Magistrate Gabriella Vella, that inquiry was completed 10 days ago.

On Thursday, Judge Grixti observed that given that the inquiry has now been completed, another of Muscat’s requests was a non-starter.

The former prime minister had asked for the inquiry to be suspended until the court rules on his objections against the magistrate. But the judge said on Thursday that given that the inquiry has been concluded, Muscat’s request to suspend it was no longer relevant.

Muscat's objection to magistrate

However, Muscat’s broader legal aim – that of convincing the court that his rights were breached by Magistrate Vella investigating him – will continue.

The judge said Muscat’s lawyers will be able to present their evidence as of the next hearing, once they have received the inquiry documents pertaining to him. 

Muscat has waged a year-long legal battle against Magistrate Vella’s probe, which he says is biased and part of a political “vendetta”. He has said information about the investigation was systematically leaked and that the magistrate did not summon him to testify until he objected to her.

The case continues on June 25. 

Lawyers Vincent Galea and Charlon Gouder represented Muscat. 

State Advocate lawyers James d'Agostino and Isaac Zammit represented the office as well as the Attorney General.

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