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Sick police official forces court to put off Caruana Galizia family case to have him removed from murder investigation

Judge raps defence for not informing the court beforehand of deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta’s absence

Staff Reporter
11 January 2018, 12:10pm
Peter Caruana Galizia (left) and Silvio Valletta (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Peter Caruana Galizia (left) and Silvio Valletta (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
The constitutional court hearing the case to have deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta removed from the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case had to postpone Thursday’s sitting

When the parties gathered in the courtroom this morning, lawyer Victoria Buttigieg from the Attorney General’s office informed the judge that Valletta was unwell. Valletta was going to testify.

Mr Justice Silvio Meli said this was “a lack of respect towards the justice system” and rapped the defence for not having filed an application to inform the court beforehand.

The case was instituted by the Caruana Galizia family that wants Valletta removed from the murder investigation citing a conflict of interest as a result of his marriage to Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana.

The judge had urged the parties to reach an amicable solution to no avail, with the family insisting that the only solution was Valletta’s removal from the investigation.

The family have argued that the slain journalist had written about various ministers, who were Cabinet colleagues of Valletta’s wife. She had also written extensively about Panama Papers and the failure of the police to follow up investigations on people in government undertaken by the Financial Intelligence, Analysis Unit, of which Valletta formed part of.

The family believe that Valletta’s involvement in the murder investigation could breach their right to a fair hearing.

Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bomb on 16 October last year. Three men have since been charged with the assassination.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia and Eve Borg Costanzi are assisting the Caruana Galizia family. Lawyer Victoria Buttigieg from the AG’s office is counsel to the respondents.