Attorney General appeals bail on Imniehru murders

Controversial bail heavily opposed by the Attorney General “because of the serious nature of the offence, and due to fear of absconding and relapsing.” 

Mario Camilleri junior (left) and his father Mario, were murdered in August 2013.
Mario Camilleri junior (left) and his father Mario, were murdered in August 2013.

The Attorney General has filed an appeal against a Criminal Court’s decision to grant bail to the men suspected of committing the double murder of Mario Camilleri ‘l-Imniehru’, and his 21-year-old son Mario Jnr. back in August 2013.

Jason Galea and George, who are half brothers, were granted bail on July 4 by Magistrate Tonio Micallef Trigona against a personal guarantee of €30,000 and a deposit of €30,000 each. Despite noting that the accusations are of “serious and grave nature,” the magistrate nevertheless granted bail arguing that since proceedings have been ongoing for a year and witnesses have been heard, the accused should be released until the main trial. 

Jason Galea was also granted bail for his alleged part in the murder of Valletta taxi-driver Matthew Zahra, whose remains were unearthed while police were digging for the bodies of the Camilleris.

Sources told MaltaToday that the controversial bail was heavily opposed by the Attorney General, who insisted that bail should be revoked “because of the serious nature of the offence, and due to fear of absconding and relapsing.” 

The decision was also objected by police, who requested the Attorney General to file an appeal against the decision. Senior police officials claimed that the decision to grant bail to Jason Galea might endanger Mario Camilleri’s wife, Mona, after the latter had told court that Jason Galea wanted to murder her as well.

Speaking to MaltaToday, lawyer Joe Giglio, the defence lawyer of Jason Galea, has also filed an appeal of the decision, requesting that the court reduces the “exorbitant” amount of money that the accused is requested to pay for a personal guarantee.

“My client is currently still being remanded in custody because he is not in a position to pay that kind of money for a personal guarantee. An appeal has therefore been filed to reduce the personal guarantee.”

Moreover, Giglio disputed the AG’s claims, arguing that irrespective of the nature of the offence, any fears of relapsing or of threat to society are unfounded because the accused has not been found guilty yet.

“The general presumption is that any accused is innocent until proven guilty, and consequently, due to the fact that my clients is yet to be found guilty, we have objected the AG’s decision to appeal the sentence. The nature of the offence is not enough to withhold bail, witnesses have been heard, and the accused has ties with Malta that alleviates any fears of him absconding.”

The decision whether to uphold the AG’s appeal will be taken by the court on Wednesday behind closed doors.

Jason Galea is accused of shooting Mario Camilleri Snr twice in the head before driving off to a field in Tal-Qajjenza, limits of Birzebbugia. The corpse of Camilleri was then lowered into a shallow grave in the field that had already been dug out. Moments later, Camilleri’s 21-year-old son, Mario Jnr. arrived at the field when he was dropped off by another man.

At this point, George Galea took the 21-year-old by the throat while Jason Galea started hitting with a loose tile lying nearby. Jason Galea then asked George Galea to shoot Camilleri but he refused, leading Jason Galea to repeatedly stab Mario Camilleri with a knife, then finishing him off with two shots. The lifeless body was then dropped next to his father’s.

Lawyer Giannella de Marco is representing Jason Galea, while lawyer Joe Giglio is appearing for George Galea. 

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