Updated | Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspects request meeting with Ana Gomes and David Casa

Lawyers for the accused asked the magistrate to authorize a meeting with the two in the presence of a foreign journalist • Casa and Gomes issue joint statement refusing meeting saying their role is only to hold authorities to account

The men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia have request a meeting with David Casa and Ana Gomes
The men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia have request a meeting with David Casa and Ana Gomes

The men accused of assassinating Daphne Caruana Galizia have requested a meeting with Ana Gomes and MEP David Casa, in the presence of a foreign journalist. The court will now decree on whether or not to accept the strange request.

Alfred Degiorgio and his brother George Degiorgio, as well as Vince Muscat, stand accused of planting and detonating the bomb that killed the journalist as she was leaving her Bidnija home in October 2017.

“I am bewildered,” Assistant Attoreny General Philip Galea Farrugia said. “Normally, the press is not wanted by the defence…”

“The law gives a raft of measures available, why should this be discussed on a political and journalistic level?” 

Cuschieri replied that legal procedure states that he must obtain the permission of the court, “therefore I am asking for it,” he said.

Parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi tried to have the request discussed behind closed doors but the court refused.

“It makes more sense that this be discussed without third parties being present,” he said referring to journalists. “If they have a complaint their lawyer can write to an MEP, but anything more than this goes beyond the remit of an MEP. Journalists are there to broadcast, not keep secrets. It is their job.”

Both Casa and Gomes have been very vocal in their criticism of the government and its handling of investigations into the journalist’s murder. Casa was re-elected to parliament in last week’s election while Gomes didn’t seek re-election.

Reacting to the request, Casa and Gomes, in a joint press release, said that "politicians have no place negotiating with suspected murderers being held in custody".

"If the accused want to make a confession, they should do so to the magistrate and if they want to make a public statement claiming innocence they can do so in court or by releasing a statement via their lawyer," they said. "The The only role that parliamentarians can play in a criminal case is to hold authorities to account. They cannot do the job of a magistrate, the police or the prosecutor. They can only see to it that those people are doing their jobs properly."

Cuschieri told the court that he did not know what his clients wanted to tell the pair, insisting that he had only just been informed of the request. “But it wasn’t this side who went to speak to foreign police with a laptop. It was others who had said that they did not trust local institutions,” he said.  

The court warned that the request may have Constitutional and fair hearing repercussions.

Galea Farrugia argued that the ongoing proceedings were “a judicial process and should not be reduced to a political forum. The request is so extraordinary that it must be discussed”.

Police Inspector Keith Arnaud, prosecuting, said he was objecting to the request.

The court gave the prosecution till Monday at 3pm to present its written reply, with a decree to be given from chambers the following day.

Lawyer William Cuschieri is appearing for Alfred Degiorgio, 53, known as il-Fulu.

Lawyer Martin Fenech is appearing for Vince Muscat, 55, known as il-Koħħu. 

Lawyer Josette Sultana is appearing for George Degiorgio, 55, known as iċ-Ċiniz.

Lawyer Philip Galea Farrugia from the Attorney General's Office and Police Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are appearing for the prosecution.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Eve Borg Costanzi are appearing parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family.

The case will continue of 15 July.

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