[WATCH] Update 2 | Joseph Muscat took people for a ride over Caruana Galizia murder inquiry, Opposition leader says

The legal committee of the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly rebuked the Maltese government over the composition of the inquiry board tasked to look into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder

Adrian Delia has urged the government to 'do the right thing' after Council of Europe says inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder does not meet its expectations
Adrian Delia has urged the government to 'do the right thing' after Council of Europe says inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder does not meet its expectations
Adrian Delia expresses conflict of interest concerns on Caruana Galizia inquiry

Updated at 2.50pm with Delia video comment

Adrian Delia has accused the government of taking people for a ride over claims that it consulted the Council of Europe over Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder inquiry.

The Opposition leader said that the Council of Europe unmasked Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s posturing over the past three months that he was consulting on the terms of reference and the composition of the public inquiry.

“We now know this was not the case because the Council of Europe has criticised the terms of reference and the manner in which Joseph Muscat set up the inquiry,” Delia said.

He was referring to the latest rebuke on Monday, when the parliamentary assembly said the appointed inquiry board did not meet the Council of Europe’s expectations.

READ ALSO: Council of Europe says Caruana Galizia public inquiry does not meet its expectations

Malta was given three months to appoint a public inquiry into the murder. The inquiry was announced a few days before the expiry of that deadline with the government insisting it had been in talks with the Council of Europe on the terms of reference so as not jeopardise ongoing criminal investigations.

The government has come under fire over the choice of nominees to sit on the inquiry board.

Former judge Michael Mallia was tasked to head the inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s murder with a remit to determine whether anything could have been done to prevent the killing. Mallia is flanked by constitutional lawyer and veteran Ian Refalo and former forensic expert Anthony Abela Medici.

Refalo’s choice has been criticised by the Caruana Galizia family and other rule of law NGOs because he represented several State entities and individuals in his capacity as lawyer that could be of interest to the inquiry.

Abela Medici’s expertise were also seen as marginal to the task at hand.

The legal affairs committee endorsed the views of Peter Omtzigt, the rapporteur who drew up a damning report on Malta that was approved by the Council of Europe earlier this year, that the inquiry did not meet the assembly’s expectations.

The Council of Europe urged the Maltese authorities to “address the issues raised as a matter of urgency”.

Picking up on this latest rebuke, Delia urged the government to do “what is right”.

“Justice needs to be done without further delay. A journalist was murdered. Malta’s reputation was damaged. There is no time for procrastination,” Delia said.

In a subsequent comment to journalists, Delia said the PN had no problem with the appointment of former judge Michael Mallia but feared that the other two members could have a conflict of interest.

He said it was necessary for the Caruana Galizia family to have privileged access to the inquiry as demanded by the Council of Europe to ensure a level of comfort that everying was being done in a transparent manner. However, he added that this did not mean they get to appoint the inquiry members themselves.

Delia has capitulated to Jason Azzopardi - PL

The Labour Party said Delia had capitulated to the PN faction that was only interested in "attacking everyone" and continue with their campaign to damage Malta overseas.

The party accused Delia of having thrown his initial caution to the wind as a result of pressure by people like Jason Azzopardi, who is the PN's representative in the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe.

"The people expect its representatives abroad, like Azzopardi in the Council of Europe, to stand up to those who make declarations that are full of inaccuracies about Malta. And if they truly believe in the rule of law, [these representatives] should ask for explanations and actions on what is happening in other countries," the PL said.