The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

One year since the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia – a timeline

Albert Galea Sunday, 14 October 2018, 10:00 Last update: about 11 months ago

16 October, 2017

Malta is rocked by the news that journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been assassinated by a car bomb near her Bidnija home.

The murder drew widespread condemnation, with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat calling it a "black day for freedom of expression" and saying that he will not rest until justice is done, while Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said the murder was the darkest day in Maltese politics and was a direct consequence of a "collapse in rule of law".


In the evening, thousands gathered in a candlelight vigil in Sliema showing solidarity with the family of the murdered journalist. 

17 October, 2017

Experts from across the globe, including the FBI, fly in to aid the investigation. Then-Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera, the duty magistrate at the time of the murder, steps down from the investigation after a request that she recuse herself from the investigation was submitted by Caruana Galizia's family. She is replaced by Magistrate Anthony Vella.

Opposition leader Adrian Delia calls on the Prime Minister take political responsibility for the murder and resign.

Hundreds gather in front of the Law Courts demanding justice for the brutal murder.

19 October, 2017

Journalists from Malta's media houses gather in Valletta in a show of solidarity following the murder. Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar and deputy commissioner Silvio Valletta address a press conference. They give scant details and the press conference is widely viewed as a PR disaster.

21 October, 2017

Joseph Muscat offers a €1 million reward for information. The Caruana Galizia family however refuses to endorse the reward, saying it would not change anything that their mother had been fighting for, which was to deal with the "desperate situation" that the country and its institutions were in.

22 October, 2017

Thousands gather in the streets of Valletta to honour the slain journalist. The Civil Society Network, founded in the wake of the murder, calls for the removal of the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General and for them to be replaced with two other nominees approved by two-thirds of Parliament.

23 October, 2017

A parliamentary motion by the Opposition to discuss the Civil Society Network's calls for their resignation is refused by the government side of the House, causing commotion in the plenary sitting.

24 October, 2017

A minute's silence is observed in the European Parliament as MEPs pay tribute to Caruana Galizia, and EP President Antonio Tajani calls for EUROPOL to be fully involved in investigation.

November 3, 2017

Daphne Caruana Galizia is laid to rest, as the country observes a national day of mourning. The European Commission meanwhile renews its call on Malta to apprehend the journalist's killers.

14 November, 2017

MEPs debate a resolution on rule of law in Malta in the European Parliament, which passes with 466 votes in favour, 49 against, and 160 abstentions.

The resolution, while non-binding, represents the resolve of the MEPs to bring Malta's attention to the values of the EU, human rights, freedoms of the press, and the investigation of corruption allegations, now more pressing in the aftermath of Caruana Galizia's assassination.

The media room of the European Parliament in Strasbourg is also renamed after the murdered journalist.

22 November, 2017

The Caruana Galizia family lodge a request with the Constitutional Court to remove Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta from the investigation, claiming a conflict of interest due to his marriage to government minister Justyne Caruana.

30 November to 1 December, 2017

An MEP delegation led by Portuguese socialist MEP Ana Gomes visits Malta on a two-day fact-finding mission focusing on rule of law. Gomes reports that the delegation had more concerns after the visit than they did before it.

4 December, 2017

Eight individuals are arrested in the early hours of the morning in Marsa, following an operation involving the police and Armed Forces. The Prime Minister confirms in a press conference that the arrests were made in connection with the Caruana Galizia murder. Later that morning, an additional two people are arrested, with the number of people detained now standing at 10.

5 December, 2017

Vince Muscat, 55, known as 'il-Kohhu', Alfred Degiorgio, 52, 'il-Fulu' and George Degiorgio, 54, 'ic-Ciniz' are charged with carrying out the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia with a bomb attached to her car. All three plead not guilty. The seven others arrested on the previous day are discharged.

14 December 14, 2017

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech accepts a request by the defence to recuse herself from hearing the compilation of evidence as she had been in the same class with Caruana Galizia's sister decades ago. She is replaced by Magistrate Charmaine Galea.

December 18, 2017

Another false start in the compilation of evidence, as Magistrate Galea also recuses herself from the case based on articles that Caruana Galizia had written about her appointment, where the journalist had tied the appointment to a perceived closeness with the Labour government. Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit was appointed to replace Galea.

21 December, 2017

After a three-day marathon compilation, Magistrate Stafrace Zammit rules that there is enough prima facie evidence for the accused to stand trial for the charges presented against them.

The compilation begins to reveal the details of how the murder was allegedly carried out; how the bomb was placed under the seat of Caruana Galizia's car and activated at around 2am, the morning before the murder, and how it was then set off by a mobile phone, with the fateful detonation SMS being sent from out at sea.

On the same day, prominent Italian newspaper La Repubblica names Daphne Caruana Galizia as its Person of the Year. It is just one of the many honours she received following her death.

18 January, 2018

Daphne Caruana Galizia's heirs tell the court that they will be assuming all her pending libel cases. These notably include one instituted by the Prime Minister, over a report that his wife was connected to an offshore company in Panama, and another instituted by Minister Chris Cardona, after Caruana Galizia reported that he had visited a brothel in Germany while on official state business.

29 January, 2018

Testifying in the constitutional case for his removal from the case, Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta says that a politically-exposed mastermind behind the murder could not be excluded and that nobody was above suspicion in the investigations.

2 February, 2018

Uproar ensues as a woman is caught on video removing flowers from a makeshift memorial to Caruana Galizia on the Great Siege monument opposite the Law Courts in Valletta. The issue surrounding the use of the monument would drag on for a number of months, eventually culminating in a court case.

16 February, 2018

Four months after the murder, the Civil Society Network put up three billboards and one banner lamenting that there had been "no justice" and "no resignations". The billboards were removed by the Planning Authority that same night, with the PA claiming that they were illegal.

Photos of Raymond Caruana, Dom Mintoff and Karin Grech are also placed alongside that of Caruana Galizia on the Great Siege monument, fuelling further debate on the makeshift memorial.

12 April, 2018

A laptop taken by investigators from Caruana Galizia's residence shows the last data was back in December 2015, meaning that she had been using another laptop when she was killed. Lawyers for the accused meanwhile requested bail for their clients, the first one of many.

15 April, 2018

A consortium of 45 journalists from 18 news organisations, including internationally reputable media houses such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Reuters, come together in a project called The Daphne Project to continue the murdered journalist's most important stories.

17 April, 2018

Journalists from the Daphne Project break a story claiming to have spoken to two witnesses who saw Minister Chris Cardona talking to Alfred Degiorgio, one of the accused, both before and after Caruana Galizia was murdered. In the latter meeting, the two allegedly spoke for an hour-and-a-half, with the Minister looking "preoccupied". Cardona categorically denies the story.

18 April, 2018

The Daphne Project breaks a second story, this time publishing leaked documents which claim that €1.3 million was transferred to 17 Black, a Dubai company listed as one of the "target clients" that would be paying money into the Panama companies belonging to Government Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Keith Schembri. Both Mizzi and Schembri deny the report, while Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says that the best answer to the consortium's allegations would be given at the Labour Party's mass meeting on 1 May.

3 May, 2018

New revelations by the Daphne Project show how Malta was at the centre of a well-coordinated multi-million fuel smuggling operation, with stolen Libyan fuel traded easily in territorial waters and through established storage facilities inside Grand Harbour and Birżebbuġa.

22 May, 2018

In a marathon five-hour sitting, the Court learns that the bomb used to blow up Caruana Galizia's car was placed under the driver's seat and was made up of 300 to 400 grams of TNT. The FBI, whose testimony almost was not even included after objections by the defence, meanwhile testified that the bomb was set off by a phone out at sea.

23 May, 2018

It is reported by the Daphne Project that the journalist's two laptops had been handed over to the German police. Ever since it had emerged in court that the only laptop retrieved by authorities was one last used in 2015, there had been controversy surrounding the actual whereabouts of the laptop that Caruana Galizia had been using at the time of her death.

31 May, 2018

Minister Chris Cardona's libel case against Caruana Galizia, relating to claims that he had visited a brothel in Germany while on an official state visit, is struck off the magistrate's register after the minister failed to turn up in court, and the defence submitted a formal cancellation request.

1 June, 2018

A delegation of MEPs probing rule of law in Malta returns and, after a one-day visit, speak of how they now had "even stronger" concerns about the situation in the country than when they had first visited the previous December. 

12 June, 2018

A judge rules that Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta should be removed from the case due to a potential conflict of interest due to his marriage to government minister Justyne Caruana.

25 June, 2018

Magistrate Neville Camilleri takes over the murder case after Magistrate Anthony Vella's promotion to judge.

27 June 27, 2018

The three accused of murdering Caruana Galizia appear before the Court once more, but this time on charges of money laundering. Details of their lavish lifestyles, despite claiming to be unemployed, emerge in the following weeks and are also allegedly involved in questionable overseas payments.

22 July, 2018

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tearfully addresses a press conference saying that a magisterial inquiry had found no evidence that Egrant belonged to him or his wife Michelle. Magistrate Aaron Bugeja had found that documents were falsified, that key witness testimonies did not match and that CCTV footage did not support the claim that evidence had been removed by Pilatus Bank employees on the night the claims were made.

2 August and 7August, 2018

Two separate requests for bail for the three accused are turned down by the Court in a matter of days.

8 September, 2018

Activists are incensed when the Great Siege monument, which was being used as a shrine for the murdered journalist, is boarded off for what Minister Owen Bonnici said was a restoration and cleaning effort. The monument was boarded up on the day that Malta's victory in the Great Siege is commemorated.

Activists continue to put banners up on the chain-link fence covering the monument, only for them to be subsequently removed, with the activists claiming that they were being taken down on the orders of Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici himself. The fence was eventually be replaced by a wooden wall surrounding the monument.

20 September, 2018

MEPs from another rule of law delegation speak about their fear that Maltese authorities are reluctant to act when faced with allegations of wrongdoing, noting that this was the case with allegations put forward by the Daphne Project.

24 September, 2018

One of the murder suspects, George Degiorgio, files a constitutional appeal saying that he had been framed, that his yacht was not positively identified, and that there was no evidence that he was on it. Police had identified him as the person who allegedly remotely triggered the bomb from his yacht, the Maia, just outside Grand Harbour.

4 October, 2018

Minister Chris Cardona's aide Joe Gerada also drops his libel case against Caruana Galizia related to the German brothel case.

5 October, 2018

The Court of Appeal confirms that Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta cannot be involved in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case.

8 October, 2018

The Daphne Project reveals another story, this time alleging that Chris Cardona had been present at a 40-person bachelor's party with Alfred Degiorgio, one of those accused of the murder, some four months before the assassination. Cardona had claimed not recalling ever meeting the accused. 

The report also claimed that in October 2016, Caruana Galizia had spoken to a ship owner over alleged links to fuel smuggling and that, shortly after that call, the man had called Chris Cardona and Alfred Degiorgio.









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