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CARUANA GALIZIA MURDER | Three charged with assassination of Maltese journalist are remanded in custody

George Degiorgio, Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat are charged with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia after they were arrested on Monday in a dramatic raid by sea, land, and also air by the Maltese armed forces and the police

matthew_agius massimo_costa
Matthew Agius / Massimo Costa
5 December 2017, 10:13pm
One of the suspects arraigned in court on charges of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia
One of the suspects arraigned in court on charges of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia
The Degiorgio brothers are among 10 men arrested in connection with Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder
The Degiorgio brothers are among 10 men arrested in connection with Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder
2010 file photo of Vincent Kohhu after being charged with participation in the HSBC bank heist
2010 file photo of Vincent Kohhu after being charged with participation in the HSBC bank heist
Three men charged with murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia
Three men charged with the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia were remanded in custody on Tuesday night as they stood expressionless in court.

The accused, brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, known as ‘ic-Ciniz’ and ‘il-Fulu’ respectively, and Vincent Muscat ‘il-Kohhu’ were arrested yesterday in a dramatic joint raid by the AFM and the Police which involved air, land and sea assets. Maltese law stipulates that persons under arrest must be charged within 48 hours or released from custody.

One of the accused covering his face as he enters the courtroom
One of the accused covering his face as he enters the courtroom
Who are the accused
  • George Degiorgio 55, unemployed, lives in St Paul's Bay, known as Ic-Ciniz
  • Alfred Degiorgio, 53, unemployed lives in St Paul's Bay, known as il-Fulu
  • Vincent Muscat, 55, lives in Msida, known as il-Kohhu


READ MORE Crime brothers: Where the Degiorgios’ names crop up in the Maltese world of crime

A heavy police presence can be felt outside and inside the law courts
A heavy police presence can be felt outside and inside the law courts
They were among the 10 people arrested in the Monday raids. The suspects were escorted to court under heavy police escort. The men, dressed in jeans and duffel jackets remained calm and expressionless throughout the proceedings

Such is the delicate nature of the case at hand that many of Malta’s top criminal lawyers are understood to have turned down the brief for a number of different reasons, all unwilling to be associated with these proceedings, despite the high-profile nature of the case.

What are the charges
  • Homicide
  • Involvment in organised crime
  • Criminal conspiracy
  • Criminal use of explosives
  • Relapsing


The men were identified by investigators who spent weeks sifting through thousands of phone calls connected to the number that placed the call which detonated the bomb in Caruana Galizia’s car and identified a number of persons of interest.

The painstaking work linked up the calls to form a pattern that shows the bomb to have been assembled in various places, including Zebbug and Mosta. Monday’s operation had been planned since November and had been launched as soon as the situation on the ground was favourable to a successful outcome.

READ MORE Caruana Galizia murder | TNT explosive used in probable ‘made-in-Malta’ bomb

The bomb was triggered by mobile phone from miles away, after a spotter gave indication of Caruana Galizia's movements on the fatal day.

Experts from Malta, Europol and the FBI are understood to have all independently reached the same conclusions which led to the raid.

The command structure of the criminal operation is understood to have been very loosely connected and the assassination is thought to have been sub-contracted and then sub-contracted again to make the figure who ultimately ordered Caruana Galizia’s killing harder to trace. That figure has not yet been identified.

Magistrate Neville Camilleri is presiding the arraignment. Legal aide lawyer Benjamin Valenzia is defence counsel. Police inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are prosecuting. Assistant Commissioner Dennis Theuma is overseeing the prosecution.

Peter Caruana Galizia, Daphne's husband, is in the courtroom along with his lawyers Therese Comodini Cachia and Jason Azzopardi, who are appearing parte civile.

Happening in court
  • Defence lawyer Valenzia contested the validity of the arrest since warrant of arrest was only handed to accused 36 hours after they had been detained.
  • Inspector Arnaud confirmed that they had been given the warrant today but that he had informed the men that they were under arrest and explained the reason for which they had been arrested at the time of their arrest at 8.15am on Monday.
  • Arnaud said he was first through the door with the SWAT team and the Degiorgio brothers were handcuffed immediately. He had informed them that they were under arrest shortly after the area was secured.
  • Arnaud explained that he arrested the men by telling them "You are under arrest for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia"
  • The other accused, Vince Muscat, was arrested in the same shed as the brothers.
  • All three men pleaded not guilty to the charges
  • No bail was requested and the men were remanded in custody
  • The prosecution asked the court to impose a freezing order over the assets of the accused, which was upheld after the defence did not object.


matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...
massimo_costa
Massimo Costa joined MaltaToday in 2017 as a journalist. He is a graduate in European Stud...