Prosecution seeks multiple life sentences for Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspects

The bill of indictment against three men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia has been served. MaltaToday gives a breakdown of the charges the men will go on trial for

Courtroom sketch of (left to right) Vince Muscat, George Degiorgio and Alfred Degiorgio
Courtroom sketch of (left to right) Vince Muscat, George Degiorgio and Alfred Degiorgio

Three men accused of assassinating journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia are facing the prospect of spending the rest of their life in prison as the prosecution is expected to seek multiple life sentences, among others.

Alfred Degiorgio, known as il-Fulu, George Degiorgio, known as ic-Ciniz and Vince Muscat, known as il-Kohhu, are accused of six crimes and will now stand trial after the Attorney General issued the bill of indictment on Tuesday.

Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb as she left her Bidnija home on 16 October 2017. The three men were arrested less than two months later after a massive security operation at the old potato shed in Marsa.

READ ALSO: Marsa’s ‘potato shed’: a den of criminality with a window to the high sea

The bomb that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia was placed inside her car under the driver's seat
The bomb that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia was placed inside her car under the driver's seat

The bill of indictment lists six accusations against the three men including voluntary homicide, the possession and detonation of an explosive, as well as forming part of a criminal organisation.

The 18-page bill of indictment recounts how Caruana Galizia had left her home on 16 October 2017, just before 3pm to go to the bank.

“What she did not know, however, was that a few seconds later, her life would be taken away in the most violent and cowardly of ways,” the charges read.

The detailed accusations state that the assistance of experts from the Netherlands Forensic Institute, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Europol was requested following the murder, with investigations leading the authorities to the three accused.

The accused had long been planning the assassination and observing Caruana Galizia's movements. They purchased the explosive and sim cards with which to detonate the bomb, months in advance.

The accusations

The three men have been accused of six crimes, as well as recidivism, having been found guilty of various crims in the past.

1. Voluntary homicide

The three men stand accused of voluntary homicide. They are believed to have surveilled Caruana Galizia’s residence for at least two months before the assassination, and had purchased sim cards and other equipment they used to kill the journalist.

This crime carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

2. Detonating a bomb that caused the death of a person

They are also accused of creating an explosion that could have placed the life of others in danger or which could have damaged third party property and which in fact killed Caruana Galizia.

The bill of indictment states that the three men had placed a bomb containing between 300g and 400g of the explosive material TNT under the driver’s seat of Caruana Galizia’s leased vehicle the night before the murder.

This crime carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

3. Possession of explosive materials

The three men are accused of the possession of an explosive substance with the intent to use it for illicit purposes.

This crime carries a maximum prison term of between 18 months and 12 years.

4. Association with individuals with the intention of committing a crime

The fourth accusation relates to the men’s association with each other and others with the intention to commit a crime.

“George Degiorgio, Alfred Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat associated themselves both with each other as well as third parties who are as yet unknown, to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia,” reads the bill of indictment.

It adds that the three men had planned the murder to the last detail. “The accused also agreed on the role each one would be assuming: one would surveille [the area] in the days before the crime, one would surveille [the area] on the day of the crime, one would detonate the bomb.”

This crime carries a maximum prison term of between 20 and 40 years.

READ ALSO: Crime brothers - Where the Degiorgios’ names crop up in the Maltese world of crime

5. Promoting a group of two or more persons with the intention to commit crimes

The Attorney General specifies that the three men did not act separately to kill the journalist, but “they also associated themselves with third parties who until now remain unknown”.

They are accused of “promoting, constituting, organising or financing an organisation with the aim of committing crimes punishable by at least four years in prison”.

This crime carries a maximum prison term of between four and 12 years.

6. Active participation in an organisation of two or more people with the intention to commit crimes

The bill of indictment notes that three men had come together to commit what they knew was a crime, and one which they organised and planned from the start till its end.

They are accused of “actively participating in the organisation’s criminal activity, including but not limited to, providing information or materials, or recruiting new members”.

This crime carries a maximum prison term of between four and 12 years.

Who are the accused

  • George Degiorgio 55, unemployed, lives in St Paul's Bay, known as Ic-Ciniz
  • Alfred Degiorgio, 53, unemployed lives in St Paul's Bay, known as il-Fulu
  • Vincent Muscat, 55, lives in Msida, known as il-Kohhu

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