Vincent Muscat pleads guilty to Caruana Galizia murder, sentenced to 15 years in prison

Muscat is one of three men accused of murdering the journalist in a car bomb attack outside her home in Bidnija in October 2017

Vince Muscat, il-Koħħu, (right) is one of three men accused of murdering journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
Vince Muscat, il-Koħħu, (right) is one of three men accused of murdering journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia

Updated at 3:52pm with prison sentence

Vincent Muscat, known as il-Koħħu has admitted to his part in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and must pay €42,930 in costs to the court. His sentence will become effective immediately.

Muscat admitted to all six heads of indictment. These were: the wilful homicide of Daphne Caruana Galizia, causing an explosion which led to the death of a person, illegal possession of explosives, conspiracy to carry out a crime, promotion of a group intending to carry out criminal acts and participation in such a group.

Finding him guilty under every head of indictment, the judgment mentions that Muscat and two others had “associated themselves with third parties” to carry out the crimes. This is the first official nod to there being more than three persons involved in the murder.

Muscat, George Degiorgio and his brother Alfred Degiorgio, are accused of procuring, planting and detonating the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia in October 2017.

Last week, Muscat’s lawyer informed the Court of Criminal Appeal that he was withdrawing his appeal against a court judgment dismissing his 118 preliminary pleas.

Muscat sat, eyes bloodshot and teary, in the dock this afternoon before madam justice Edwina Grima as she asked him to confirm his change of plea. His co-accused, the Degiorgio brothers, sat stony-faced behind him.

No less than 8 armed prison guards separated the brothers from their former co-conspirator.

Muscat’s confession, together with the information he would hand over to the police, could have a domino effect on the other cases against his co-accused, Alfred and George Degiorgio, alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech, and beyond.

Discussions as to the man’s punishment continued behind closed doors.

READ ALSO: Three men accused of murdering Caruana Galizia are back in court

Muscat had requested a presidential pardon earlier this year but this was rejected by Cabinet.

In the previous sitting in the compilation of evidence against the men, middleman Melvin Theuma testified. Theuma said he feared Yorgen Fenech would try to eliminate him after Caruana Galizia was murdered.

Last week, Vince Muscat, one of the three men charged, withdrew his appeal from a criminal court ruling that rejected 118 exceptions raised by the accused. Last Wednesday, the appeal was expected to be heard, but Muscat advised the court that he was presenting a note on his appeal.

 

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