The Malta Independent 1 March 2021, Monday

Vincent Muscat pleads guilty to Caruana Galizia murder, sentenced to 15 years in prison

Tuesday, 23 February 2021, 13:42 Last update: about 5 days ago

Vincent Muscat, known as il-Koħħu has admitted to his part in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Muscat, George Degiorgio and his brother Alfred Degiorgio, are accused of procuring, planting and detonating the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia in October 2017.

Muscat was sentenced to 15 years in prison, effective immediately and must pay €42,930 in court costs within three years as well.

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Muscat admitted to all six heads of indictment. These were: the wilful homicide of Daphne Caruana Galizia, causing an explosion which led to the death of a person, illegal possession of explosives, conspiracy to carry out a crime, promotion of a group intending to carry out criminal acts and participation in such a group.

In her judgement, Judge Edwina Grima stated: "Over the course of today’s sitting, the Court heard the testimony of Inspector Keith Arnaud, who explained in detail the cooperation of the accused Vincent Muscat in the still ongoing investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.  It heard that this cooperation has been ongoing since 2018 and continues till this day, with the accused Vincent Muscat assisting authorities from a relatively early stage of these proceedings, wherein this assistance may also result in the start of prosecution against third parties."

"The court also heard Dr. Jason Azzopardi, the lawyer of the victim’s family, who declared that the parte civile is, in light of the aforementioned circumstances, adhering to the bargain on the punishment agreed between the prosecution and the accused Vincent Muscat."

"Therefore it is in light of these particular circumstances and the accused’s assistance and cooperation during the course of the investigations and prosecution of this case, as explained by Inspector Keith Arnaud, the Court feels that it should adhere with the joint request as presented by the parties today."

As a result of the above, Muscat was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Muscat also renounced his right to appeal, meaning that the sentence is effective immediately.  Eyes bloodshot and teary, Muscat was led away from the courtroom after speaking to his lawyer back to Corradino Correctional Facility, where he will spend the next 15 years behind bars.

The police have since arrested three more men on suspicion of being the people who supplied the bomb, and it has also emerged that Muscat was granted a president pardon to tell all about the 2015 unsolved murder of Carmel Chircop.

Last week, Muscat’s lawyer informed the Court of Criminal Appeal that he was withdrawing his appeal against a court judgment dismissing his 118 preliminary pleas.

Muscat’s confession, together with the information he would hand over to the police, could have a domino effect on the other cases against his co-accused, Alfred and George Degiorgio, alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech, and beyond.

Muscat had requested a presidential pardon earlier this year but this was rejected by Cabinet.

In the previous sitting in the compilation of evidence against the men, middleman Melvin Theuma testified. Theuma said he feared Yorgen Fenech would try to eliminate him after Caruana Galizia was murdered.

Last week, Vince Muscat, one of the three men charged, withdrew his appeal from a criminal court ruling that rejected 118 exceptions raised by the accused. Last Wednesday, the appeal was expected to be heard, but Muscat advised the court that he was presenting a note on his appeal.

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