Caruana Galizia murder: Judge to rule whether Vince Muscat's police statements will be included in Degiorgio brothers case

Judgew Edwina Grima is expected to rule whether statements made by Vince Muscat to the police will be exhibited as evidence in the case against brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017

Murder suspect George Degiorgio being led out of court. (File Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Murder suspect George Degiorgio being led out of court. (File Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

A judge will decree on whether statements given by Vince Muscat to the police will be admitted in the murder case against the Degiorgio brothers.

In a short sitting this morning, Judge Edwina Grima heard submissions on the matter from the prosecution and the defence.

If she allows the statements to be exhibited as evidence, they will have to be included in the compilation of evidence.

George and Alfred Degiorgio are charged with murdering journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on 16 October 2017. Muscat had been charged alongside them but admitted last February and was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a plea bargain agreement.

The Degiorgios are pleading not guilty but have asked for a presidential pardon for which they are willing to spill the beans on two other people – a former minister and a middleman – whom they claim were involved in Caruana Galizia’s murder and who have not been charged or granted any pardon.

09:46 The sitting is over. Thank you for following. Kurt Sansone
09:45 The court will give a decree on the matter from chambers. Kurt Sansone
09:45 “Muscat is the only witness who says he was present there before, during and after the event. Unlike Melvin Theuma,” points out Cuschieri. Kurt Sansone
09:44 On the sworn testimony, he says there is more space for it to be included. The position is different in cases where the testimony is on oath before a magistrate. “The rest is intelligence, not material evidence,” he says. Kurt Sansone
09:44 Deputy AG Philip Galea Farrugia says that on disclosure, material evidence is that which is going to be used in the case. These interviews with Muscat were made for the purpose of the presidential pardon and without the caution being given. Muscat was given a presidential pardon for another murder case. Kurt Sansone
09:43 Cuschieri makes his submissions. He insists that both for disclosure and control of the witness of Muscat - that all the facts relative to this case are in the hands of the parties. Kurt Sansone
09:42 Cuschieri declares he has no objection to the exhibition of only the relevant parts of the statements of Muscat to the police and his sworn testimony before the inquiring magistrate. He has no objection to the exercise of excision of the irrelevant parts to this case from the testimony being carried out by Arnaud and Zahra. Kurt Sansone
09:41 “Muscat is the only eyewitness to the whole plan,” suggests defence lawyer William Cuschieri. He is trying to establish whether Muscat is a material witness or not. The court says it will be up to the jury to decide. The policemen step off the stand. Kurt Sansone
09:34 The court asks if the defence has an objection to the police carrying out the exercise of censoring the names. Kurt Sansone
09:34 They are talking about Vince Muscat's testimony. Muscat was accused alongside the Degiorgios of carrying out the murder. He pleaded guilty last February and was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a plea bargain agreement. Kurt Sansone
09:33 Arnaud: “You need to be careful as the testimony sometimes flits from one event to another. There is also a question as to who will edit the transcripts. In the audio-visual statement there are no names, as at the time there was no presidential pardon. The people are referred to as A, B, C etc.” Kurt Sansone
09:31 Lawyers Charles Mercieca and Gianluca Caruana Curran – who are representing Yorgen Fenech in separate proceedings linked to the Caruana Galizia murder - enter the courtroom and sit down at the back. Kurt Sansone
09:31 The court asks if third parties are mentioned in this case and whether parts of the statements can be truncated or edited, and whether it touches on other case. Kurt Sansone
09:30 Superintendent Keith Arnaud and Inspector Kurt Zahra take the stand. The accused, George and Alfred Degiorgio, are asking for copies of testimony given by the accused to the police and during the compilation of evidence over Daphne Caruana Galizia murder. Kurt Sansone
09:28 Good morning. Kurt Sansone