The Malta Independent 18 August 2019, Sunday

CoE hearing: AG cannot say if he asked UAE, German authorities for information on Daphne murder

Tuesday, 9 April 2019, 13:49 Last update: about 5 months ago

Attorney General Peter Grech today refused to comment on whether he made requests for information to foreign jurisdictions related to the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, saying that he cannot give such details in a public forum.

Grech also told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that there is no legal basis to claims by the Caruana Galizia family, that a failure to launch a public inquiry into the journalist’s death constitutes a breach of their fundamental human rights.

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Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt, who is preparing a report for PACE on Caruana Galizia’s murder and the rule of law in Malta, asked the Maltese AG whether he had requested information from the UAE, where 17 Black was incorporated, and Germany, whose police force was given a laptop that had belonged to the slain journalist.

Replying, Grech said: “There is a limit to what I can say about investigations in such a public forum. The fact that I can’t tell you does not mean that nothing has been done,” Grech said. “I cannot engage in giving details of an investigation in a public forum.”

The AG said he has been in contact with the lawyers representing the Caruana Galizia family and has been informed that they will be bringing a case claiming a breach of their human rights.

He said his office has “engaged openly” with the family regarding this.

While further inquiry into the case may be appropriate, the AG said this does not necessarily mean that two inquiries need to opened in parallel.

In fact, past judgments by the European Court of Human Rights allowed for there to be a sequence of investigations and did not necessitate that they are all held in parallel.

He also asked whether a parallel public inquiry could prejudice ongoing criminal proceedings. Grech said the magisterial inquiry is a broad one that can take the magistrate wherever the evidence points to.

Explaining the judicial process in Malta, Grech said that the three arrests made so far are not the end of investigations.


Asked about instances where he had called Daphne Caruana Galizia a “hate blogger,” Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said he disagreed with Caruana Galizia’s style of writing, adding that Opposition Leader Adrian Delia had also called her a “bicca blogger.”

He also insisted that Nexia BT's Brian Tonna has not worked for the ministry during the current legislature.

The minister said two investigations had been launched, one of which was concluded and found no wrongdoing. He said he hoped that the PN MP would respect the outcome of court decisions once the outcomes are concluded.

Asked about Malta’s Permanent Commission Against Corruption, and whether it had led to any convictions since it was set up, Bonnici said that the commission had a representative nominated by each of the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader and that it had been this way “since forever”.

“I agree that the working of the commission has not led to concrete results,” Bonnici said, adding that the commission did not have exclusive jurisdiction to fight corruption. He said there had been cases where eventually appeared before the courts.

Bonnici defended the “reformist government’s” track record and insisted that it was not true that it was trying to erase the murdered journalist’s memory. He said the government had not stopped anyone from placing candles and flowers by the Great Siege monument.

Describing the murder as a blot on Malta, the Justice Minister assured that tracking down the mastermind behind the murder was a priority. “This is not Malta. Malta is not this. Malta is much better than this”, he said.

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