Family file constitutional request for public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder

The Caruana Galizia family is asking the State to open a public inquiry to determine whether the journalist’s death could have been avoided

Daphne Caruana Galizia's family has formally asked for a public inquiry to determine whether her death could have been prevented by the State
Daphne Caruana Galizia's family has formally asked for a public inquiry to determine whether her death could have been prevented by the State

Lawyers for the Caruana Galizia family have filed a judicial letter demanding the State take “all necessary measures” to open a public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.

The inquiry should determine whether the Maltese State is abiding by its obligation to protect life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The letter, filed in the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction, is in the names of widower Peter Caruana Galizia and the journalist’s sons, Matthew, Andrew and Paul. It is addressed to the Attorney General, the Justice Minister and the Prime Minister.

It states that the public inquiry should include an obligation to investigate whether the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia could have been avoided, whether the State had abided by its obligation to take the necessary steps in view of circumstances which indicated that she was in danger and whether it had given her the necessary protection.

The inquiry should also investigate whether the “procedures, processes and administrative structures” were sufficient to indicate to the State the knowledge of the dangers she was in and whether these were sufficient to trigger protection measures and in the absence, investigate how these procedures, processes and structures can be strengthened.

Failure to appoint ideal, independent and impartial persons to carry out this investigation would leave the plaintiffs no choice but to file legal proceedings against them, warned the letter, which was signed by lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Eve Borg Costanzi and Therese Comodini Cachia.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a powerful car bomb on 16 October 2017. Three men have been charged with her murder and the compilation of evidence against them is ongoing.

However, the mastermind behind the assassination is so far unknown.

During court proceedings it emerged that one of the men accused of planting and detonating the bomb had been on the radar of the security service and had his phone tapped prior to the murder. The phone tapping was in relation to a separate criminal case.

The family had alleged that the security service and the police must have got wind of the murder but did nothing to prevent it from happening. The police and the security service had publicly denied having prior knowledge of the assassination.

The government has so far refused to initiate a separate public inquiry into the murder after the Attorney General advised that this would not be desirable while police investigations and the magisterial inquiry into the murder are ongoing. The government has not excluded an inquiry at a later stage.