Police investigating other people in Caruana Galizia murder probe, Attorney General says

Police investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia are ongoing as the Attorney General opposes bail for three men accused with the assassination

The accused (left to right) Vince Muscat, Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorgio are seeking bail
The accused (left to right) Vince Muscat, Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorgio are seeking bail

Police are still actively investigating an undisclosed number of persons in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Criminal Court has heard.

This emerged as the Office of the Attorney General made submissions on a fresh request for bail made by the three men accused of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia this morning.

Brothers Alfred Degiorgio (known as Il-Fulu) and George Degiorgio (Iċ-Ċiniż) as well as Vince Muscat (il-Koħħu), have been under arrest since a dawn police raid on a Marsa warehouse on 4 December.

All previous requests for bail have been turned down by the courts.

Lawyers William Cuschieri, Josette Sultana and Martin Fenech are arguing that there was no risk of the accused attempting to tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses as all of these had testified before the inquiring magistrate and during the compilation of evidence.

All that are left are mobile phone service providers, explained Cuschieri.

The onus of proving that there are grounds for bail to be withheld rest with the Attorney General, he said.

"Where is the fear that they escape or abscond? They all have family ties and roots in Malta. If they were tipped off before their arrest and if there was a fear that they would escape from Malta…this would have happened in December, right before their arrest, not now," the defence lawyer argued.

Cuschieri accused the Attorney General of simply quoting the law "and not applying it". The lawyer invited the prosecution to explain their fears.

"They have been held at Corradino Correctional Facility since December and have not had a single problem with the administration there. If ex-admissis the AG is saying that phone data is central to the case how can the accused tamper with the evidence?"

He noted that when the defence had first requested bail, the AG had objected because people were under arrest on police bail. This was later found not to have been true, Cuschieri pointed out.

"Let us not keep on talking in the abstract, in a vacuum, about something that no longer exists. People under similar charges had been granted bail in far riskier circumstances and this case is no different from others," he said.

Assistant AG Philip Galea Farrugia rebutted the arguments, insisting there was no doubt as to the serious nature the offence, he said. "Gravity alone is not sufficient to deny bail, but are we looking at gravity alone?"

There is also the prospect of maximum punishment which is an incentive to abscond, Galea Farrugia said, to which Cuschieri replied that this would preclude bail for many other cases.

"They’re not first time offenders," continued Galea Farrugia.

"There is also an ongoing magisterial inquiry. It is still open because the investigators believe that there are other people involved in the commission of this offence. There are third parties who are still being actively investigated and therefore there is the fear of tampering," the assistant AG said, adding that all the fears envisaged in the law subsisted.

In seven months, over 100 witnesses had been heard, the assistant AG said, noting this unheard-of efficiency showed just how seriously the authorities were taking this case.

Judge Giovanni Grixti will deliver his decree from chambers.

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