Caruana Galizia inquiry board ‘must bear responsibility of its actions’ government says

Government tells board charged with public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia they must face the consequences of extending their deadline  

Judge Michael Mallia heads the board of inquiry
Judge Michael Mallia heads the board of inquiry

The board tasked with leading the public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia must bear the responsibility of its actions, the government has said.

The government was reacting to a statement made by the judges sitting on the public inquiry in which they said that they will continue proceedings beyond the extended deadline of 15 December. 

“The Board has decided that it alone has the right to determine the limits of its terms of reference,” government said.

Government said the board has decided that it alone has the right to lay down the limits of the terms of reference handed to it, and so must shoulder the responsibility of its decisions and any consequences.

On Monday, after the six-hour sitting where former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri was questioned, the judges said that they would not accept any undue pressure or interference diminishing their brief.

The judges said that the board, in defence of its “independence and autonomy” would appreciate if it were allowed to proceed with its work in order to reach an objective judgement-free of “improper pressure and undue interference.”

They said that there was no room for binding time limits unless stated in terms of reference and that the original nine-month limit had been set without prejudice to the “just fulfilment” of those terms, agreed upon with the Caruana Galizia family.

The board pointed out that data from electronic devices analysed by Europol, could in fact be “substantially useful,” and should be available by mid-January.

Due to this, the hearings have been suspended until then.

The public inquiry originally had a September deadline. However, that was extended by prime minister Robert Abela due to delays caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

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