Agius brothers, Jamie Vella are denied bail

The court turns down bail requests by murder suspects Robert Agius, Adrian Agius and Jamie Vella

Brothers Robert and Adrian Agius, known as Tal-Maksar, and their associate Jamie Vella have been denied bail by the court.

In a ruling delivered today, Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo turned down their bail requests. She insisted bail is not an automatic right, citing Article 5 of the European Court on Human Rights, which states that bail should be granted if there is no risk that the accused will flee, there is no risk the accused would tamper with evidence, there is no risk the accused would commit further offences and that there would be no room for public disorder.

The ruling noted that the request for bail came only four and half months after the accused were charged, “which is not a long time” considering the serious nature of the crimes at hand.

She denied the men bail.

The three face multiple charges in connection with the murders of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017 and lawyer Carmel Chircop in 2015.

On Wednesday, the court heard submissions by the three, with defence lawyer Alfred Abela insisting the prosecution had no more witnesses to present and it was unfair for the accused to be kept under preventive arrest.

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

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