Caruana Galizia murder: Degiorgio brothers offer information in renewed bid for pardon

The Degiorgios want a presidential pardon to reveal information about a former cabinet minister who they say was involved in the murder • The brothers filed a pre-emptive Constitutional case requesting a reconsideration of past refusals to grant them a pardon

Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio
Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio

Two men indicted over the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, have this morning once again requested a presidential pardon in exchange for information about the involvement of a former cabinet minister in the murder, together with urgent Constitutional proceedings, in which they are requesting a reconsideration of past refusals to grant them a pardon in exchange for the information.

In correspondence seen by this newspaper, the accused men wrote to President George Vella, asking him to exercise his prerogative of mercy “in view of the fact that [they] are prepared to cooperate fully and provide information which is true, confirmable, credible, direct and which is not hearsay.”

They claim to have information about a mastermind and a middleman who have not been charged nor pardoned, in connection with the murder. Additionally, they say offer to disclose the mastermind and executor in an as yet unsolved murder and two recent bombings, which are also unsolved.

“Not only were they not given a fair hearing but that they were not even heard, ” claimed the Degiorgio brothers’ lawyer, WIlliam Cuschieri in the application filed this morning. 

In correspondence sent on March 22 last year, Cuschieri told the President that “my client has engaged me to respectfully ask that this request be treated with the greatest of caution, also in view of the fact that the person mentioned above presently occupies the post of cabinet Minister and who therefore can in no way be allowed to participate in any discussion, recommendation or advice about the request.”

Cuschieri argued that court proceedings regarding fundamental human rights can not only be filed as a result of the rights being breached, but also in anticipation of a probable breach.

It was likely that the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police, “amongst others,” would once again not listen to what they had to say and simply recommend their pardon request for refusal. In the same way, the Cabinet of Government Ministers will advise the President of the Republic to deny the request, Cuschieri predicted.

“This is not what happened in the cases of the Presidential Pardons given to Melvin Theuma and Vincent Muscat,” they said, arguing that it was not in the national interest or the interests of justice that “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” remains unknown. 

A corollary of this would be that their right to a fair hearing would probably be breached, necessitating the filing of these proceedings, the lawyer said.

The lawyer asked the court to declare a probable breach of their fair trial rights, should the recommendation be made to reject their latest request for a Presidential pardon. 

The court was also asked to take steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen, including by ordering the defendants to hear what they have to say about the pardon before taking any decisions or making any recommendations.