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Nicholas Azzopardi inquiry to be re-opened

Police commissioner John Rizzo asks the Attorney General to re-open the magisterial inquiry into the death of Nicholas Azzopardi.

Jurgen Balzan
23 March 2012, 12:00am
Check out Nicholas Azzopardi’s death bed statement on YouTube on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDIy0ayI2N0
The police have issued a statement saying that Police Commissioner John Rizzo has asked the Attorney General to re-open the magisterial inquiry into the death of Nicholas Azzopardi who had died after sustaining serious injuries when allegedly 'jumping off' the bastions beneath the Floriana headquarters in 2008.  

The statement said that the Commissioner's request was made following media reports about the case which have emerged in the past week.

Last week, Adrian Lia, a former police sergeant who was crucial in determining the outcome of the Nicholas Azzopardi inquiry was arrested and charged in court for allegedly stealing €30,000 in cash which was confiscated during raids in connection with clandestine lotto. The former police had  also deceived the police force and the government into believing he had saved a woman from drowning 14 years ago.

Last week, MaltaToday asked the Home Affairs Ministry whether Lia's evidence was reliable and whether the inquiry will be re-opened, however the ministry said that “despite the fact that the documentation in relation to both inquires has been open to scrutiny by journalists, their findings were never put in doubt.” 

Adrian Lia had claimed that he had been injured in a scuffle with Azzopardi before he allegedly jumped off a wall.  There was no proof in police records of any injuries to the police sergeant. A subsequent inquiry based many of its conclusions on the testimony of Adrian Lia.

Azzopardi died 13 days after he was arrested and was allegedly beaten up by police officers at the Floriana police headquarters on 8 April. Hours before he died on 22 April, he told his family and inquiring magistrate he had been heavily beaten up by his interrogators while under arrest. His family believe Azzopardi was attacked by an officer who flung a side kick, breaking his ribs and puncturing his lung.

His death was the subject of a magisterial inquiry by Antonio Vella, and of a parallel inquiry by retired judge Albert Manchè launched by the government following the publication of the revelations made by Azzopardi in MaltaToday.  The inquiry concluded that there was no wrong doing on the part of the police.

Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
tony sultana
Long live;Malta Today,serve as sharp theet for dose people that want to harm our island enviroment,our human rights and much more.Thanks very much to the founder of this magazine.
Nazzareno azzopardi
We the family of Nicholas Azzopardi are grateful to the Malta Today and those courageous people who stood by us and voiced there opinion so that justice will be done. We do not want a repeat inquiry like the previous one handled by Judge Albert Manche , but are asking for an independent inquiry with representatives from the European Committee for the prevention of torture and ill treatment to prisoners whilst under police custody as overseers or observers. The above delegation was prevented previously from meeting Judge Albert Manche and if the government is really willing to solve this case , no objections should arise.
eddy privitera
Ma nemminx li taht dan il-gvern korrott tista xi darba tohrog il-verita!
Dion Borg
From my own personal experiences with the 'police' I can vouch that they are getting ever more untrustworthy, and ruinung and demoralising those that have a civic duty. Their arrogance breeds contempt. MaltaToday stands out as a beacon of true journalism, asking pertinent questions and seeking the truth - not like other media who have become more of a mouthpiece.
maltesecross
I am assuming that both the magisterial enquiry and the other enquiry led by Judge Albert Manche’ were based on evidence given by the notorious police sergeant who first lied about a heroic act that never existed and then thrown out for crime confiscated cash missing from the police custody. -- If I am not mistaken there was an inspector and a police constable also involved in the inquiries. If this is the case, I suspect that the police constable may have been threatened by his superiors (an inspector and a sergeant are superiors) in his evidence. -- Now is the ripe time that perhaps if this police constable will be offered a state evidence or presidential pardon, he may give the true facts of what happened. -- I tend to believe more a dieing man stating that he was beaten up by the police than believe the whole police corp stating differently. A dieing man has nothing to gain by lying while the police have a carrier and pension ahead to loose and possible imprisonment for manslaughter.
eddy privitera
In order to have a new enquiry into the death of Nicholas Azzopardi, the person chosen to head the enquiry should have the trust of both sides in parliament. Otherwise, if the person chosen is a political appointee, there could remain doubt on the findings of the enquiry. Surely, a particuilar ex-Judge should definitely not be given the task !
Basil Borg
Jekk kien hemm xi frame-up il-PN ghandu igorr ir-responsabilita u mhux joqghodu jilghabuha tal-vergni puri!
Noel Cutajar
Dak kollu hela ta' hin u weggha ghall-familja. Jekk terga' tinfetah mhux ghax hemm provi godda sempliciment biex il-kummissarju jaghlaq halq in-nies bl-ispekulazzjonijiet u xejn aktar. Jekk kien hemm provi godda ghax ma nvestigax hu? Il-ligi taghtih dan il-poter u jaf tajjeb ghaliex il-pulizija tista' tinvestiga anki jekk m'hemmx inkjesta u anki jekk tkun maghluqa.
Michael Fenech
As far as I know, when a person is very close to death, and leaves a statement or even a videoed statement, this should be analyised in detail, and not believing a police officer who had already deceived the government and also the police. I hope that the new inquiring magistrate will get into these details, as now it seems that what the victim stated in his last statement before he died, is resurfacing a different outcome of the facts. Thanks to Malta Today, and especially to Mr.Saviour Balzan, that the victim's family might finally see justice being done!
tony sultana
Thanks Maltatoday.Anybody can face the same fait if this kind of torture dont stop by certain police. But everybody is inocent until proven guilty.
xprun
Ta' min jghid li l-inkjesta se terga' tinfetah sforz il-persistenza tal-familjari ta' Nicholas u bl-ghajnuna kbira tal-Malta Today. J'alla tohrog il-verita' kollha bi trasparenza shiha.
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