George Degiorgio’s courtroom rant to prosecution: ‘Your friends killed her’

In a bid to delay the trial which started on Friday, co-accused Alfred Degiorgio allegedly ingested pills that had been supplied to other prisoners at Corradino Correctional Facility

George Degiorgio
George Degiorgio

The accused in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, have pleaded ‘not guilty’ in the long-awaited trial by jury of brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio.

George Degiorgio, 58, known as iċ-Ċiniż and his brother Alfred Degiorgio, 56, known as il-Fulu are the defendants. The trial of the two men accused of being the triggermen in the fatal 2017 car bombing began in Valletta just two days short of the fifth-year anniversary of the assassination.

The trial is being presided over by Madam Justice Edwina Grima, who will sentence the men should they eventually be declared guilty, but the decision to find guilt or otherwise rests solely in the hands of the nine carefully-vetted jurors.

READ ALSO: Caruana Galizia murder: Trial against Degiorgio brothers begins today

The proceedings were off to a tricky start after murder suspect Alfred Degiorgio was alleged to have attempted to ingest pills which were supplied to other prisoners at Corradino Correctional Facility, in a bid to delay the trial.

He was later this morning escorted to court in a wheelchair, covered in a blanket, with a nurse sitting next to him.

Upon entering, George Degiorgio turned to the prosecution – led by deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia – in a generic accusations of the State’s “friends” in being in cahoots with the murderers of Caruana Galizia. “Give us a reason... don’t you know who killed Daphne?” he called out to the prosecution. “Your friends, those whom you were shoulder to shoulder with... go investigate them.”

After making his allegations against the prosecution, George Degiorgio then turned towards his legal aid lawyers, saying they were not ready to have the trial commence. “What a cesspit of a country. You should be ashamed of yourself. Are there any journalists here? Publish what I am saying,” he said in court.

It was the accused themselves who had informed the court that they were unable to find a lawyer they trusted who was prepared to assist them.

The court found itself with its hands tied and could only do that which the law empowers it to do – that is, in the circumstances where a person accused is unable to engage a lawyer to defend it, appoint a legal aid lawyer to provide an adequate defence to the accused.

After this happened the court conceded further time to the defence lawyers to prepare their defence.

Asked to reply to the indictment against them, George Degiorgio said “I have nothing to say”, while Alfred Degiorgio: faintly and with difficulty said “not guilty”.

The law establishes a time-frame in which the accused is given to prepare his defence. That period is 20 days.

“The court is of the opinion that this jury, which was given a date in July this year, gave the accused a long enough period time to the accused to prepare their defence. Not only this, but when the accused found themselves in difficulty after their lawyer renounced his brief on the eve of the trial, the court gave even more time to the accused to engage another lawyer,” Madam Justice Edwina Grima said.