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It’s not everyday that you get to cover a court case featuring a disgraced former prime minister, several of his former lackeys, and a list of accusations that wouldn’t be out of place in a mob film.

It took me a few days to fully grasp the magnitude of what is unfolding in front of us. Processing the avalanche of information that came out of the hospitals concession inquiry alone is an arduous, ongoing task.

Witnessing the government’s assault on the judiciary – and its culmination in front of the law courts on day one of this case – has been nothing short of horrifying. The image of that crowd of hundreds of people baying for blood in front of the last remaining bastion of our democracy will remain seared at the back of my mind for the rest of my life. Dealing with that will take a whole other kind of processing.

Actually being in court from the second batch of hearings onward is proving to be a deeply unpleasant experience as well. The biggest criminal case in Maltese history is in the hands of a young team of prosecutors squaring off with seasoned defence lawyers. More broadly, the individuals who left three public hospitals in the lurch for their own benefit must be brought to justice in spite of the government’s efforts to cover up their wrongdoing.

It’s like watching the battle between David and Goliath in slow motion, and David’s aim is looking shakier than ever. All hope rests on the inquiring magistrate’s work being immaculate enough to withstand the relentless prodding and poking of a group of lawyers who are being paid to help exonerate OCCRP’s most corrupt person of 2019 and half his former Cabinet.

After all that and all we’re yet to see, I am convinced that the importance of this case supersedes that of any other.

Joseph Muscat, along with the rest of the usual faces whose dirty hand prints just so happen to be all over every major government scandal of the past decade, made history in the worst manner possible. He became the first former prime minister to earn a permanent ‘disgraced’ on his record, though you won’t see other media houses refer to him in that manner, even though they know they should be doing so instead of calling him up to quote him verbatim.

This website was set up to chronicle this country’s infamous descent into the depths of organised crime and corruption. When a bunch of disgraced pathological liars who ran your country aground are finally dragged to court to answer for their shameless looting of three public hospitals, there is no greater calling.

Given the extraordinary nature of this case, I’ve taken an editorial decision to focus most of my resources on the fallout from the hospitals concession deal. Besides working on an infographic guide that explains the inquiry report in more digestible data chunks, I will be attending every court case I can attend, because there is no greater priority than documenting history in the making.

I am lucky enough to be enjoying the fruits of a productive collaboration with Michael Kaden from Together, we are working on creating five minute explainers at the end of every hearing. We are even publishing two versions of each explainer, one in Maltese and one in English. The idea is to provide the public with live updates throughout the sitting itself and then wrapping up the day’s key events in a social media friendly format.

By way of a quick side note, we will also be continuing the ‘SIEGĦA’ project once we manage to confirm the next interviewee. Do leave a comment if you have an interesting, relevant individual you’d like to suggest for future episodes.

Regrettably, this decision also means that content that is unrelated to this case will have to take a backseat until something gives. While I’m sure our loyal donors and supporters are aware of the limited amount of resources at my disposal, I feel compelled to emphasise that I can only do so much. I’d much rather execute fewer jobs to the best of my abilities than crap out one story after the other without bothering to look into the details.

I am planning a fundraiser campaign later this year to develop this project into a not-for-profit newsroom. Until then, I am making do at great personal cost. Not strictly in the material sense – though there is that, too – but largely in terms of the additional labour that is required to sustain this. Again, new followers may not know this, so I must repeat it since I cannot ever expect anyone to read through every single column I ever published to date: this website does not have any commercial or government advertising backing it.

The only way I’ve received funding is directly from the followers who support this project. I keep the lights on by doing up to three night shifts a week at a mental health residential rehab service. And when I say ‘keep the lights on’, I do mean just about that and little else. I earn some much needed extra cash whenever the odd freelance gig comes my way. Until this project becomes more viable, I am far happier with a somewhat ascetic life than selling this project’s soul to the highest bidder.

Quo vadis, Times of Malta?

I am aware that investing a lot of my very limited time and energy in following the hospitals concession case is a bit of a gamble. People may lose interest and I may need to shoehorn other material whenever possible to keep up some element of variety. But I am absolutely convinced that the pertinence of this case outweighs all other stories I could be following as a lone journalist whose work is focused on organised crime and corruption. I hope that you all understand the significance of this too.

I would not be exaggerating if I said that The Critical Angle project was born in the pits of despair. It is you, the people who follow our work and support it, who make it possible for this project to serve as a beacon of hope.

Thank you for supporting this website and its mission. You’ll be hearing from us later on in the morning as we bring you fresh updates from today’s court sitting.


  • Godfrey Leone Ganado says:

    Well done Julian.
    I started following you and make it a point not to miss your great and independent contributions which keep strengthening and vindicating what really Daphne Caruana Galizia uncovered and why she was heinously assassinated by the State of Malta and it’s comprehensive establishment.
    Looking forward to your summing up of the court activities.

  • saviour mamo says:

    The cunning plan couldn’t be more evident in letting the team of young prosecutors to swim in a sea full of sharks.

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