Daphne public inquiry: Grech calls on parliament to ‘close dark chapter’

Opposition leader calls for bipartisan effort in House for concrete action on recommendations in Caruana Galizia public inquiry

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

The Nationalist Party has insisted on a bipartisan effort from the House of Representatives to enact the changes recommended by the public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Opposition leader Bernard Grech said the House should answer to the public inquiry’s conclusions using “concrete actions”.

“For me, as leader of the Opposition, my first priority is to ensure that the suffering by those close to Daphne and her cause would not be in vain, but lead to change in the Maltese democracy,” Grech’s letter read.

On 15 July, the public inquiry board said in a statement that their investigation was concluded, and that they would be presenting their findings to the PM and the State Advocate “in the coming days”.

The Board of Inquiry presided by retired judge Michael Mallia and Joseph Said Pullicino, and sitting judge Abigail Lofaro was set up in December 2019 following pressure from the Council of Europe and civil society.

It has heard a vast spectrum of witnesses, ranging from former prime minister Joseph Muscat to activists, in its 19 months of operation.

State Advocate Chris Soler represented the State in the proceedings before the board, while lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia assisted the Caruana Galizia family.

The board will be announcing the date on when the report will be presented, and when it will be published.

“That is why I am inviting you. I want to ensure that together we take the initiative of answering to the inquiry using concrete actions in the House, which close this dark chapter of our country once and for all,” Grech said.

The board originally had a nine-month term to conclude its work but requested an extension since the process was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Last October, the board said it would overstep the deadline if it felt the need to do so.

A 15 December deadline was also given by Robert Abela, but the board had said that it would be continuing procedures beyond the date if need be.

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.”