Delia: ‘I spoke of political, not criminal, responsibility’

The Nationalist Party leader said nobody had brought to his attention threats to Daphne Caruana Galizia by people close to him

Opposition leader Adrian Delia stressed tonight that when yesterday he spoke about responsibility for last Monday’s events, which he referred to as a political assassination, he was talking about political, and not criminal responsibility.

“Not only would it not be wise, and also imprudent for me to speculate on criminal responsibility, but it would be madness for anyone to pass any comment or allegation on criminal responsibility,” he said.

Addressing a press conference outside parliament, following the Prime Minister’s speech, he explained that in “a normal country” such work was done by an inquiring magistrate and the police that gather information and a court that decides.

On the other hand, he said political responsibility was different.

Delia stressed that the PN had never criticised the police’s work when it came to drug seizures, and other work it carried out, but rather spoke about the fact that the Police Corps had had five commissioners in five years, which had led to it being stripped of its dignity.

Turning to the Attorney General (AG), Delia said that similarly, the Opposition was not being partisan in suggesting that the AG should enjoy the confidence of two-thirds of the House.

The Opposition leader accused the Prime Minister of “almost implying he was the victim of what had happened”. “Democracy was the victim. Caruana Galizia was the victim. Freedom of expression was the victim and this is what we have to emphasise.”  

He said people wanted justice and it was unfortunate that rather than see a Prime Minister give a calculated speech he had chosen to be partisan.

‘Responsibility will have to be taken for serious accusations’

Delia said Muscat would have to take responsibility for insinuating that people close to the new PN leader might have been responsible for the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The Opposition leader was asked whether he had ever investigated claims made by Caruana Galizia on her blog, and which were mentioned by the Prime Minister in his address to parliament, about her receiving threats from Delia’s followers.

“Absolutely nobody brought this to my attention except a journalist this afternoon,” he said, insisting that if the police had reason to investigate him they should call him themselves, rather than the Prime Minister go to parliament and “gossip and make new allegations”.  

“If there’s something worth investigating let’s investigate it,” he said. “This is an accusation - if it is an accusation, because I’d like to believe it isn’t - that is very serious and whoever says it must take responsibility for it”

The Opposition leader was also asked whether he would be taking up the Prime Minister challenge, by asking a magistrate to investigate allegations made against him by Daphne Caruana Galizia, insisting that, in a normal society, politicians didn’t “play to people’s perceptions, or for political convenience”.

“If anyone at all, including the police, have anything at all which is a serious allegation they are free to investigate and I will cooperate. There are courts, institutions... and this is what the fight is about, the normality of institutions.”

He went on to say that investigated were “not instigated by challenges by politicians”, adding that if there were serious allegations they wanted to take to a magistrate he would cooperate fully.  

Ultimately, he said here was “absolutely nothing at all” which would push him to “play political games for political inconvenience.

In his reaction to Muscat’s speech, Delia said he was disappointed at the fact that Muscat had not addressed the fundamental issues raised by the Opposition yesterday.

“The main points which have led to what has happened and that will determine what happens going forward, he chose not to speak about,” he said.