Court hears bail submissions in Tal-Maksar compilation

The compilation of evidence against Robert and Adrian Agius, Jamie Vella and George Degiorgio, accused of involvement in the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Carmel Chricop continued on Wednesday

Adrian Agius being led out of court after his arraignment earlier this year when he was arrested along with his brother Robert Agius and associate Jamie Vella (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Adrian Agius being led out of court after his arraignment earlier this year when he was arrested along with his brother Robert Agius and associate Jamie Vella (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

The court has heard submissions on bail by Robert and Adrian Agius's defence lawyer when the compilation of evidence against them continued on Wednesday.

Lawyer Alfred Abela insisted that the prosecution had no more witnesses to present and it was unfair for the accused to be kept under preventive arrest. He presented a female witness, whose name cannot be published, who said she was ready to act as guarantor for Adrian Agius.

The prosecution objected to bail, insisting that in cases involving organised crime, the fear of tempering with evidence persisted and given Robert Agius's extensive travels abroad, the fear of absconding was big.

Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo, who is presiding the case, will deliver judgment on bail at a later stage.

Brothers Robert and Adrian Agius, known as Tal-Maksar, and their associates Jamie Vella and George Degiorgio, face multiple charges in connection with the murders of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017 and lawyer Carmel Chircop in 2015.

Robert Agius and Jamie Vella are accused of providing the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia, while all four are accused of Chircop's murder. Adrian Agius is accused of commissioning the Chircop assassination.

READ ALSO: Adrian Agius told police he was returning from Sicily ‘retreat’

10:59 That’s it for today. Thank you for following. A summary of proceedings will appear shortly. Kurt Sansone
10:59 The decree on bail will be given later. The rest of the sitting will continue behind closed doors. Kurt Sansone
10:58 Magistrate: “Yes, but you do not have these accusations against you.” Kurt Sansone
10:58 Abela claps back at the prosecution saying that it is not substantiating its fears. “If this is the case, anyone accused of a serious crime should not be released on bail.” On fears that the Tal-Maksar brothers might escape the country should they be granted bail: “Even I travel regularly, it’s not that rare.” Kurt Sansone
10:52 “Did they ever act smart with us? No. They do not have a long criminal history. Granted. But at the same time, we have someone like Vince Muscat who has a lot to say about them,” AG lawyer George Camilleri continues. Kurt Sansone
10:51 “Our other fear is that, as we heard the police inspector say, Robert Agius travels regularly. He has strong connections in a lot of countries, and he will find shelter. The defence says these accusations do not compare with previous cases. Today, we are speaking about a much more serious crime,” the prosecution says. Kurt Sansone
10:49 The prosecution says that the law states that bail should not be granted if there are fears of absconding or tempering with evidence. The European Court makes it very clear that in cases concerning organised crime, the risk of evidence tempering by organised criminals and gangs is much higher. “That is one of our fears,” the prosecution argues. Kurt Sansone
10:46 Bail is a right, but it is not an automatic right. They also pose a threat of public disorder, he says. Kurt Sansone
10:36 The prosecution says that it had already explained why bail shouldn’t be granted. “Both of them (Adrian and Robert Agius) are accused of very serious crimes – murder. Yes, they were different cases, and they had different roles, but it is a very serious crime.” Kurt Sansone
10:34 The defence lawyer says that the criminal record of the accused “is nothing special”. “We do not have someone who has had a long history of cases,” he says. He insists that the accused have been on the papers for the last three years. “Should they try to escape, we would know immediately.” Kurt Sansone
10:25 Abela: “The prosecution is not giving us good reasons to justify the bail not being granted.” Kurt Sansone
10:25 The defence lawyer says that Agius had been described as a businessman “tal-affari tiegħu”, and that he was being kept under arrest because he is “Tal-Maksar”. Kurt Sansone
10:23 The lawyer says all that remains is for the inquiry report to be exhibited in court. “We cannot keep people under preventive arrest because of administrative issues.” He says the court has heard 107 witnesses. “How can we say that we are in the initial stages of procedures?” Kurt Sansone
10:23 Abela says that there are no more witnesses to testify. “How can the accused influence witnesses or temper with the evidence?” Kurt Sansone
10:21 Moving back to Adrian Agius, Abela tells the court that 50 days after he was arrested, there is no more evidence to be submitted by the prosecution. He also points out that despite being allocated six sittings, four were cancelled. The defence lawyer says it is unfair to keep people in preventive arrest. Kurt Sansone
10:21 Pulis confirms the incident and explains what happened. He says that Robert Agius had gone to Sicily with the ferry, and the police had arrested him upon arrival. When the magistrate ordered the court to open at 11pm, the note informing the court of Agius’s travel was found. Kurt Sansone
10:19 Abela asks the witness if he remembers an instance when a note informing the courts that Agius was going abroad was not presented and the defence had requested the courts to open at 11pm. Kurt Sansone
10:17 Pulis: “I don’t remember exactly, but at least once a year.” Kurt Sansone
10:17 Camilleri asks the inspector how many times Robert Agius travelled abroad. “Regularly,” Pulis replies. Camilleri: “Once a year? Once a month?” Kurt Sansone
10:16 The inspector also clarifies that there were other inspectors involved in the case before he was put on it. Kurt Sansone
10:16 AG lawyer George Camilleri asks the witness what Robert Agius was accused of, to which he says drug trafficking and possession of ammunition. Agius was found guilty for the possession of ammunition only. Kurt Sansone
10:16 Lawyer Alfred Abela asks the witness if he was involved in a case in which Robert Agius was a suspect. The witness confirms. He also says that until the case was concluded, Robert Agius had been on bail for years. He says that Agius always informed the court when he was going abroad. Kurt Sansone
10:03 Inspector Kevin Pulis takes the stand next. He will testify in the request for bail by Adrian Agius. Kurt Sansone
10:02 AG lawyer George Camilleri asks her if she is ready to report him to the police, should he break bail conditions. The witness answers in the affirmative. Kurt Sansone
10:01 The first witness takes the stand, but the court bars her name from being published. She says that she is prepared to act as a guarantee for Adrian Agius. This means that if Agius is given bail, and breaks conditions, she would be imprisoned. Kurt Sansone
10:00 Defence lawyer Alfred Abela informs the court that the defence has a witness as part of the request for bail. Kurt Sansone
09:58 The prosecution will be exhibiting no witnesses today. Kurt Sansone
09:54 The court notes the Attorney General’s position that he is not in a position to exhibit the magisterial inquiries into the murders of lawyer Carmel Chircop and journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Kurt Sansone
09:38 This is the continuation of the compilation of evidence against brothers Adriana and Robert Agius, Jamie Vella and George Degiorgio. They are accused of involvement in the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Carmel Chircop. Kurt Sansone
09:37 Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo emerges from chambers and the sitting begins. Kurt Sansone
09:37 Good morning. Kurt Sansone