About the hospitalisation of the star witness in David Gatt’s trial, PC99 Mario Portelli

Before the publication of the last article in the series of the analysis of the trial of Dr David Gatt, we take a look at media articles about the hospitalisation of the star witness in this case, PC99 Mario Portelli.

On 23rd February 2019, we read that the Alliance for Mental Health (A$MH) had asked for an investigation to be opened regarding the fact that the Police had admitted Mario Portelli to Mount Carmel Hospital. Albeit in their statement, they did not mention him by name, the Democratic Party did. The Alliance had sent letters with such a request to the Commissioner for Mental Health, to the Chief Executive of Mount Carmel Hospital and also the Head of the Police Governance Board. The Democratic Party had also asked if the Police was doing its duty or failing to do so. The Police had visited Portelli’s home after the same Portelli had spread videos on social media in which he had claimed that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had testified falsely about the Egrant company.

In a footage, the head of the Democratic Party Dr Godfrey Farrugia had said that he will not go into whether what Portelli had said was true or not, but he was asking if the Police had followed the necessary practice in this case. Both Farrugia and the A4MH had insisted that the Police can never admit someone to Mount Carmel Hospital without the doctor’s consent. If the patient refuses, the Police would have to obtain a signature of a doctor and that of a social worker, or of a relative. In its statement, the Democratic Party said that if any citizen defames, he can be sued for libel, and if he makes accusations and is ready to present evidence, the Police have a duty to investigate.

In another article dated two days later, of 25th February 2019, we read that the Commissioner of the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with a Mental Disorder had said that it will investigate Mario Portelli’s case. When Newsbook had got in touch with the Commissioner and asked if an investigation had started on the case to establish if the established procedures were maintained when a person is admitted to Mount Carmel Hospital, the Office replied that it was officially informed about the case and that as an office they are looking into the case to see if the rights of the patient were looked after. In the video Portelli had appeared to be taken by force and without the presence of a doctor. It is of utmost importance that in this article, we read for the first time that “Gatt had been acquitted of his involvement in the HSBC case as Portelli’s main testimony had been discredited on the basis of mental health problems.” Ah yes!? For depression? Is this that made his evidence less credible? What about the fact that in the beginning Magistrate Trigona had said that there was enough evidence for Gatt to be indicted, only to then later, make a u-turn?

In another article, dated 3rd March 2019, we read how the former Member of Parliament Dr Godfrey Farrugia had stated that the Police had abused the system when they took Portelli to Mount Carmel hospital, stressing that the Police had violated the Charter of patient rights and the Mental Health Act when they collected Portelli from a private residence without documentation as stipulated in the law. Farrugia went on to explain that from there they took him to the Mater Dei emergency where the necessary documents were made for Portelli to be admitted as a patient at Mount Carmel Hospital, claiming that this goes against normal practices and established procedures. Farrugia added that the Ministry of Health will not publish the result of the investigation that the Commissioner for Mental Health was carrying out, when the law states that the Commissioner must submit the investigation report to the Ministry and it will be the Minister for Health who decides whether to publish the report or not.

And then we had the usual scientific mouthpiece from the checkered scientific lodges of the checkered floor, Dr Chris Fearne, being reported stating by The Sunday Times that the investigative report won’t be published for the patient’s confidentiality reasons. Jaħasra! Did you expect anything different, dear readers? So, it was fine for the Police to collect Portelli from his residence without documentation as stipulated in the law; then by a magic wand documents were issued later by Mater Dei, and then suddently Fearne is concerned about confidentiality?! Who gave the go ahead to Mater Dei? Who gave the go ahead for Portelli to be admitted in Mount Carmel Hospital?

At times, the circle expands itself.

And then we get the cherry on the cake when the investigation by the Commissioner for Mental Health regarding the involuntary admission of Mario Portelli stated that his rights were not violated!

At times, chewing chewing gum at the building with the stairs and other institutions gives you a flexible outlook of bubble gum laws and rights.

Regarding this case, the scientific mouthpiece Chris Fearne told Newsbook that when there are cases of patients who are admitted involuntarily to the Mount Carmel Hospital, the procedure is always started by a psychiatrist. Ah yes? Where was the presence or the letter of such a psychiatrist when the Police went to Portelli’s home? Answering a parliamentary question, Fearne said that the investigation by the Commissioner for Mental Health found that Mario Portelli’s rights were not violated, and published part of the report that was made: “Having taken all the evidence into consideration, the Board does not consider that Mr Portelli’s rights as a mental health service user were breached during the period indicated for investigation. The Police acted under Article 44(4) of the Mental Health Act. The admission process was effected through a first medical assessment at Mater Dei Hospital and subsequently completed with a second specialist assessment effected within 24 hours of admission at Mount Carmel Hospital.”

Excuse me, who decided what part of the report had to be published? Why wasn’t it published in its entirety? Didn’t Fearne state earlier that the report won’t be published for the patient’s confidentiality reason? Was this confidentiality thrown out now?

Excuse me, but doesn’t the last statement of his show that the documents were done after the Police took Mario Portelli away from his home? Shouldn’t these documents have been presented before? And since when can the authorities admit citizens to Mount Carmel Hospital involuntarily?

Dear readers, do you smell rats? Why wasn’t Portelli, as Dr Farrugia had stated, arrested and had a libel filed against him? Can I ask Dr Joseph Muscat if all this was done with the blessing of his authority?

Dear readers, do you remember the part where the defence team of David Gatt had queried whether Portelli had ever been held at Mount Carmel hospital, but a doctor had testified that he never was? The defence team had said that they will bring witnesses to testify this but no testimony had ever taken place.

Dear readers, considering that we were told that “Gatt had been acquitted of his involvement in the HSBC case as Portelli’s main testimony had been discredited on the basis of mental health problems“, and considering that Gatt’s defence team had queried Portelli’s Mount Carmel hospitalization, what do you think of the hypothesis that Portelli’s footage happened to just be a misfortunate mishap that was used by the usual [expanded] circle so to make Gatt’s acquittal look legitimate on the basis that Mario Portelli now, was truly a Mount Carmel patient?

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