The Malta Independent 23 October 2018, Tuesday

Updated: PN leader calls for special inquiry on Caruana Galizia murder, government replies

Thursday, 11 October 2018, 10:53 Last update: about 12 days ago

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia today said latest developments regarding the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia show that the government did not do its duty “to prevent it” and “to investigate it well to catch whoever commissioned it”.

In a statement, Delia said in the last days the constitutional court had stopped the husband (deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta) of a minister (Justyne Caruana) from investigating the murder.

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Minister Chris Cardona had also admitted in Parliament that he attended a bachelor’s party with one of the three men accused of the murder while Italian media reported that the minister had received a telephone call from someone who later also called one of the accused, Delia said.

In the light of these developments, the Opposition is requesting the government to appoint a “special, autonomous and independent” commission with the following terms of reference: identify what were the shortcomings in the provision of protection to the assassinated journalist, investigate what “authorities” knew or could have known about the threats to Caruana Galizia and investigate whether these authorities failed to act on what they knew to protect the journalist.

Delia said that nearly one year after the assassination, the person or persons who commissioned the crime are still to be identified.

As a result, the Opposition is requesting the government to say what the police are doing to identify the person or persons who commissioned the crime. Delia also called on the government to remove the present police commissioner for allowing his deputy (Valletta) to investigate the case and appoint a new commissioner to lead the investigation.

Government reaction 

In reply, the government underlined the fact that under our legal system, when a crime such as a homicide occurs, two parallel investigations take place – one conducted by the Police and the other conducted by the Inquiring Magistrate. The Government refers also to the wide powers and discretion which our laws afford to the Inquiring Magistrate.

As is already apparent from what has been published in the last days, most of the points mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition are already subject to investigation. The government urged any person, including the Leader of the Opposition, to pass any information which might assist in the investigation to the relevant authorities.

The government also referred to the ongoing correspondence between the Attorney General and the lawyers of the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia regarding the merits of the setting-up of a public inquiry. 

The lawyers of the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia have been asked to react to a number of legal questions which arise if a public inquiry had to set up over and above ongoing criminal investigations.

While it is of utmost importance to avert situations or decisions which might prejudice or hinder ongoing criminal investigations, at the same time there is nothing which excludes the setting-up of another inquiry at a later stage as long as this prejudice is averted, the government said.

Labour Party

In reaction, the Labour Party said Delia should have demanded an inquiry about himself and not on issues that are already subject to investigations by independent authorities.

Delia's request is a weak attempt by someone who wants to take control of the party he leads but knows he has a problem of credibility.

In the months leading to Caruana Galizia's murder, Delia was the main target of the journalist. What she wrote about him had never been verified because Delia was afraid of an investigation such as the one launched by Muscat on Egrant, the PL said.

 

 

 

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