Updated | PN leader’s wife claims domestic violence in legal bid to prevent access to children

Court grants Adrian Delia access to see children after urgent request filed on Christmas eve by Opposition leader

Nickie Vella de Fremeaux
Nickie Vella de Fremeaux

A court of law turned down a series of allegations filed by the estranged spouse of Opposition leader Adrian Delia in a bid to prevent him from seeing their five children over the Christmas season. 

MaltaToday understands the court gave short shrift to the allegations of Delia’s turbulent matrimonial life in which Nickie Vella de Fremeaux alleged acts of domestic and verbal violence. The court instead allowed Delia a minimum of three days a week to see his children, which included Christmas Day and Boxing Day, at the house of Vella de Fremeaux’s parents and under their supervision.

The details emerged in a leaked excerpt of her judicial writ, which has done the rounds among members of Delia’s parliamentary group on WhatsApp, along with a recording of an alleged argument in which Delia can be heard raising his voice.

One PN insider close to Delia told MaltaToday the sharing of the private details was “a breach of loyalty” and refused to comment on the private feud. The Opposition leader himself released no comment on the allegations. 

In what is marked as paragraph four of the entire judicial writ, Vella de Fremeaux alleges that Delia had been violent and abusive towards several of his children, who had also “witnessed their father beating their mother.” 

In one case, he was said to have “thrown [name] to the floor, kicked and smacked” the child; another child was said to have been abusively called “fat” and “good for nothing”, another allegedly “forced to eat dog food one time”, and another child “belted once”. 

It is by far the most egregious set of allegations to have emerged against Delia, and MaltaToday understands the excerpt from Vella de Fremeaux’s judicial writ has been doing the rounds since late on Christmas eve – after the allegations were refused by the court to give Delia the right to see his children.

Delia filed the urgent court application on Christmas eve to see his children, but Vella de Fremeaux – a family lawyer – said she would only allow limited access under supervision by her parents. It is unclear whether she had ever filed criminal complaints alleging domestic violence in the past, after listing these allegations in her court writ to counter Delia’s request. 

The news follows notice from Vella de Fremeaux that she will not seek any further efforts for reconciliation with her husband after deeming the marriage to have “broken down irretrievably”, and instead proceed to a legal separation. 

Earlier in the week, Delia appeared on Xarabank’s special Christmas edition show alone, hinting at the troubled patch his marriage had been through. 

The couple have been married for 17 years. 

Opposition Leader's reaction

Adrian Delia reacted to what he called "malicious allegations circulating on social media."

He said that he would adhere to the impositions of the court by refraining from commenting publicly on the separation to protect the interests and wellbeing of his children.

"I will not in any way give in to malign intents to turn this personal issue into a political one," he said.

One of the people who commented on Delia's Facebook post happened to be his brother-in-law Michael Vella de Fremeaux, who denounced the media for having exploited the private situation. "You continue to have my support and that of my family, in this very difficult time," he said.