Caruana Galizia bid to remove investigator informed by ‘open contempt of state’, government says

The Maltese government said a London legal firm’s ‘completely one-sided judgement’ was informed by the Caruana Galizia family’s ‘open contempt’ for the government

TThe government has said that calls for an international investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia were rooted in the family's contempt towards the Maltese state
TThe government has said that calls for an international investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia were rooted in the family's contempt towards the Maltese state

The Maltese government has replied to a London legal office’s call for an international investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, saying the family displayed “open contempt” towards the government.

The reaction was to a family statement containing a legal opinion by the Doughty Street Chambers of London, in which lawyers Caoilfhionn Gallagher and Jonathan Price from claimed Malta was in “flagrant violation” of its Article 2 obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Caruana Galizias said that the journalist’s sons Peter, Andrew and Matthew had chosen not to return to Malta permanently after “independent advice” out of fear their safety “may not be guaranteed”.

The lawyers called for swift action to remove deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta, husband of a Labour minister, from his role in the investigation given the family’s concerns the murder might have political connections.

The family has already filed a court request to have Valletta removed from the investigation.

But the Maltese government accused the family of being prejudiced towards the officers involved in the investigation.

“Such a serious allegation is not based on any proof but only on the open contempt which the clients hold towards the Maltese State,” the government said. “They are very irresponsible allegations intended to undermine the credibility and authority of all Maltese institutions nationally and internationally, and cannot be made or taken lightly.”

The government said tht the call for an international investigation – despite the involvement of the FBI, Europol, Dutch forensic and Finnish investigative authorities – could now “really be understood as a call for the elimination of all Maltese institutions from the investigation in favour of foreigners”.

“Not only is such a step inconceivable in a sovereign and democratic country but it is also in itself a huge insult to the Maltese Courts, including the institution conducting the Magisterial Inquiry into the murder which was said to enjoy the confidence of all stakeholders,” the government added.

“It is clear that the so-called ‘Urgent Advice’ is nothing but more of the same one sided, uninformed and speculative attacks on a democratically elected Government and on the Maltese State for reasons known to whoever commissioned it.”

The government said it was surprised at the family’s statement opining that the solicitors were basing themselves “solely on the information afforded to them by their clients, provided for publication of what is being called ‘urgent advice’ on the merits of a Maltese court case which is to be heard for the first time next week.

“This attempt to write a completely one sided judgment in the court case before this is even heard is highly unethical and manifest a lack of respect for the Maltese Courts,” said the government.

Doughty Street was formed in 1990 and is a prominent legal firm that specialises in human rights advice. Recently, the firm took a brief from former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in the European Court of Human Rights, after the senator lost his seat because of the Severino Decree, which bars him a conviction on tax offences. The decree prohibits him from standing in the 2018 election.

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