Court rejects appeals by Nizar el Gadi, serving life sentence over ex-wife's murder

The former wife of el Gadi had been found dead in her car in Bahar ic-Caghaq in 2012

Nizar el Gadi
Nizar el Gadi

The court of Criminal Appeal, presided by Mr. Justice Giovanni Grixti, has rejected two appeals filed by murderer Nizar el Gadi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015, having been convicted of the murder of his ex-wife, lawyer Margaret Mifsud. 

Mifsud was found dead in her car in Bahar ic-Caghaq on the night between 18 and 19 April 2012, after having attended a dinner with colleagues in Xemxija.  

Forensic experts who testified during the trial said that the victim had been found to have died of traumatic asphyxia caused by el Gadi sitting on her chest, pinning her down. Mifsud had reported her estranged husband to the police for trying to choke her some time before the murder.

The Libyan was subsequently sentenced to life in prison with five 10-day periods of solitary confinement every year for the murder.  

A €5,000 fine and an extra three months were subsequently added to El Gadi’s sentence in view of threatening gestures he made towards the prosecuting police inspector and the victim's family, upon receiving his sentence.

Superintendent Keith Arnaud, an inspector at the time, had testified how after the life sentence was handed down, from the back of the hall the mother of the victim had said, "something to the effect of asking whether the accused was ‘content, now that he was going to stay in Malta’” and that after that, the family had erupted into applause.

In response to the comment by Mifsud, the Libyan had gestured as if shooting the family, before turning to Inspector Arnaud and drawing his thumb across his neck, saying “you’re next”.

But even in 2012, years before the murder took place, El Gadi had been charged with holding Mifsud against her will, slightly injuring her as well as threatening her and the couple's children. He was convicted of these charges in 2016 and jailed for 3 years. 

An account of that domestic violence incident had been read out during the trial by jury on the strength of a written note found by police when searching the victim’s house during the murder investigations. The incident had taken place in March 2012, at a time when the couple were already legally separated. El Gadi had tried to strangle Mifsud, wrapping a belt around her neck and demanding the, “Me or the children?”

El Gadi filed an appeal to the 2016 sentence, claiming amongst other things, that the judgement was null because the court had failed to mention the facts of the case and asking the appellate court to reconsider the punishment inflicted with regards to the sentence he had received over the courtroom gestures.

In separate decisions handed down earlier today, Mr. Justice Giovanni Grixti, presiding the Court of Criminal Appeal, dismissed both of el Gadi’s appeals, ruling that the considerations on its finding of guilt and the punishment inflicted were within the parameters of the law and confirming the man’s sentences.