Degiorgio phone taps: Judge recused on second Security Service case

Degiorgios file human rights breach claim relating to Malta Security Services phone taps

Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio
Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio

Mr. Justice Toni Abela has recused himself from hearing a case filed by George and Alfred Degiorgio dealing with a human rights claim relating to Malta Security Services phone taps, after it was requested in view of the fact that he had only recently decided a case on similar merits between the parties.

Last month, Mr Justice Abela had awarded George Degiorgio €10,000 after finding a breach of his right to private and family life in view of the fact that MSS had failed to exhibit a warrant authorising the phone surveillance when requested to by the court.

Degiorgio, who is indicted along with his brother Alfred over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, had also filed a separate Constitutional case requesting the cancellation of all criminal proceedings against him, as well as compensation.

That case was also being heard by Abela. When the case was called this morning, State Advocate Chris Soler requested the recusal of the judge, arguing that the “as the court had pronounced itself in other proceedings, expressing views on an aspect of the case which is common to the two, recusal should take place.”

Lawyer William Cuschieri, appearing for the Degiorgios, did not insist on the judge’s recusal, but did not object to the request either. He argued that while there were similar aspects, the cases were not identical.

Having heard the submissions on this point, the judge dictated a note, observing that the court had already pronounced itself in a judgment on some of the evidence exhibited in these proceedings, which today is subject to an ongoing appeal.

The court, having seen the article cited, said it was clear that the particular circumstances of this case were catered for in the law, which states that the court is to uphold every request for a recusal in such circumstances.

Abela recused himself from the case, sending the acts of the case back to the registrar to be dealt with according to law.