The Malta Independent 24 September 2018, Monday

INDEPTH: Why Azzopardi won’t repeat claims of a police tip-off to Daphne’s murder suspects in court

INDEPTH online Friday, 4 May 2018, 08:19 Last update: about 6 months ago

For the sake of protecting multiple "police sources", Jason Azzopardi says he will not be repeating claims made in Parliament that a police sergeant had tipped off murder suspects in the murder case of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

 He was being interviewed on the latest edition of INDEPTH by The Malta Independent editor-in-chief Rachel Attard.

Last Monday in Parliament, Azzopardi made the explosive allegation that police sergeant Aldo Cassar called one of the three murder suspects hours before they were raided at a shed in Marsa, which led to their arrest. The raid took place on 4 December 2017.

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Police and the secret service vehemently denied the claims, saying the sergeant in question had been subject to disciplinary action over something unrelated.

Azzopardi repeatedly questioned why action had been taken against him, when the order was made, and why an inquiry was not launched to investigate any possible leaks by the police to the accused.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bomb just metres away from her Bidnija residence on 16 October. Since then, police have arraigned three men in connection with the homicide, although it is widely accepted that they are but executioners, meaning the masterminds are still at large.

Azzopardi, who is parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family for the murder case, was accused of making the claims about an alleged tip-off in Parliament because whatever MPs say while in the plenary session is privileged, in that it is protected from law suits and libel proceedings.

When questioned about whether he would repeat the allegations outside of Parliament, or rather whether he would be presenting them in court in view of him being involved in the case, Azzopardi stressed that there are certain legal requirements to raise such an argument in court. Such requirements would necessitate that Azzopardi would have to divulge his sources, which he maintains are more than two and all come from within the police force.

PL MP Robert Abela had challenged Azzopardi to repeat the accusation outside of court, adding that he would not because he knows them to be untrue.

When confronted with this, Azzopardi said that it is a fact that on 5 December police inspectors interrogated one of the three men had asked three questions on how they knew to get rid of certain key items right before they were raided by police, such as mobile phones in the sea and a close person's mobile number written on one of the men's hands.

One of the lead inspectors, Keith Arnaud, made an appeal for politics to be left out of the case. On this note, Azzopardi explained that he did not make any legal arguments or comments in Parliament but rather political ones. His main issue is why no inquiries were launched on a state level at the possibility that the criminals where tipped off.

Azzopardi reveals that he did not tell PN leader Adrian Delia, and also did not feel the need to tell him as in other cases about the contents of his Parliamentary speech where he repeated the allegations.

Azzopardi also delves into questions on why the general election was called a year early, adding that the l-aqwa zmien domain name had been purchased months before the murdered journalist's most damning allegations about the Prime Minister and his possible offshore dealings. He questions whether it had anything to do with the cache of leaked documents sent to the slain journalist regarding the Azerbaijani oil company SOCAR and the local company Electrogas. It has been reported that at the time of her murder, she was working on her biggest story ever. Azzopardi therefore believes she was murdered for political reasons. 


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