‘Other persons’ probably also involved in Caruana Galizia murder, Deputy AG tells judge

Deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia tells court that other parties, besides those already charged, were probably involved in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia

File photo
File photo

Deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia told a court that other parties, besides those already charged, were probably involved in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Galea Farrugia was making submissions before three judges presiding the Court of Criminal Appeal, as it continued to hear arguments in an appeal filed by George and Alfred Degiorgio over their continued detention in pre-trial custody on charges of having murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017.

In submissions before Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and judges Tonio Mallia and Joseph R. Micallef this morning, the Degiorgio brothers’ lawyer, William Cuschieri argued that a balance should be struck between the importance of the case and the accused’s fundamental rights.

He said that it may be true that a “web of criminality” was involved in this case, but that this did not mean that the presumption of innocence should be “thrown out of the window.”

Cuschieri said it was true that there were third parties involved, amongst them Melvin Theuma, who he said, had phoned up the accused in prison to bolster their morale. Theuma had also told them of a plan to bribe a judge, said the lawyer, adding that the Degiorgios had not been implicated in this.

Degiorgio brothers ‘wanted to reveal more information’

The defence also argued that the Degiorgio brothers had made two requests for a pardon in return for evidence implicating  third parties, but that these requests had been refused.

In his counter-arguments, opposing bail, the Deputy Attorney General said that it was true that there were “indications of the involvement of third parties.” He disagreed with the defence’s assertion that the fear of the accused contaminating evidence or approaching witnesses was simply theoretical.

Galea Farrugia pointed out that just a few months after the Degiorgios’ arraignment, other persons had been charged in connection with the murder – Yorgen Fenech, the tal-Maksar brothers and Jamie Vella. “The probability is that there are other persons also involved,” he said.

The prosecutor’s submissions contradict the statement made by Commissioner of Police Angelo Gafa’ to the press in February last year, after the arraignment of Jamie Vella together with tal-Maksar brothers Robert and Adrian Agius. “We are in a position to say that every person involved, be it mastermind or accomplice, is under arrest or facing charges,” Gafa had announced at a press briefing.

The court announced that it will be issuing its decree on the bail request from chambers.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi appeared parte civile  for the Caruana Galizia family.