The turbulent case of Christopher Bartolo, the renal-failure patient from Gozo who asked for special bail while stuck in legal limbo, reached a new stage this week after his lawyers decided not to recuse Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri from hearing his case – even though he had previously ruled against Mr Bartolo.
“Whilst thanking you for the long years of service to Maltese society at large and after much reflection, we have decided not to ask for your recusal. We want you to decide this case,” said Dr Franco Debono, who is representing Mr Bartolo.
The Chief Justice will now be presiding over two separate appeals related to Mr Bartolo.
Mr Bartolo’s lawyers had filed the request for special cases bail, which is addressed to the President of Malta, nearly two months ago. Mr. Bartolo now awaits his next court sitting on the 19th of February, when oral submissions will be undertaken.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said that he was looking towards the upcoming sitting on the 19th.
“While I understand the sensitivity of the case, in light of the fact that there are the final oral submissions on his constitutional appeal on the 19th of February I do not deem that it would be appropriate for me to comment on the case. I do not want to prejudice the case,” he said.
Legal experts familiar with the case said that “applications for bail never take more than a week. And a week is a lot, because bail takes precedence over everything since a person might be imprisoned before they were finally judged.”
Noting that the request for bail has “been on her desk for two months,” the legal expert predicted that “the case won’t be decided before the end of the year at this rate.”