The Malta Independent 29 September 2022, Thursday
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Watch: Prime Minister says legal developments confirm 'institutions are functioning'

Thursday, 25 February 2021, 10:15 Last update: about 3 years ago

The latest developments in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case show that the rule of law in Malta is working as it should be, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Thursday.

Abela was addressing a press conference hours after the arraignment of four people on charges related to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and lawyer Carmel Chircop.

“The fact that the police have charged more people in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia confirms that the institutions did not rest in their search for justice,” Abela said.

The PM said he must exercise caution, adding that there is still the presumption of innocence, but the fact is that one person has been charged with masterminding the murder, three have been charged with carrying out the crime and two others have now been charged with complicity.

He also noted that Vince Muscat has been jailed 15 years after admitting his role in the murder and must now testify in the case.

“The investigations must continue, but there is no doubt that this is a country where the rule of law works. No one enjoys impunity. Our institutions are strong in their fight against criminality.”

He thanked the Police and the Office of the Attorney General. The institutions will find our support, he said. He reiterated the government’s resolve to support the institutions and provide a serene environment for them to work in, without any political interference.

“I took unprecedented decisions to give the institutions greater autonomy. We have a police commissioner who was chosen through a public call and now have a new and independent way of appointing new members of the judiciary.”

“The government I lead is a force for good. My hope is that the latest developments are another step towards justice with Daphne Caruana Galizia and her family. Will work for the country to close this wound one and for all. Justice does not distinguish between one person and another.”

Asked if the Daphne Caruana Galizia case is now closed, Abela said the Police Commissioner had clearly said that investigations are ongoing. “We do not go into police investigations and the task force will continue investigating.”

Asked if would demand that other investigations take place, the PM said he does not interfere in police work.

 

Arraignments

On Wednesday, four persons were charged in connection with the Caruana Galizia murder and the murder of a prominent lawyer, Carmel Chircop.

The accused are brothers Robert and Adrian Agius, known as tal-Maksar, their accomplice Jamie Vella, and George Degiorgio, who is one of the three men who were charged over the Caruana Galizia murder.

George Degiorgio and Jamie Vella were charged with the 8 October 2015 murder of lawyer Carmel Chircop in Birkirkara. They were also charged with possession of firearms and using them in the commissioning of a crime, as well as conspiracy and forming part of a gang.

Adrian Agius was charged with being a mastermind and an accomplice in the murder and financing the killing as well as of forming part of a gang.

He was further charged of having, on 23 February of this year, been in possession of heroin.

Robert Agius and Jamie Vella of having, on 16 October 2017 conspired to commit a crime, forming part of a gang, being in possession of explosives, being accomplices in the murder.

All four denied the charged levelled against them and were held in custody.

The arrests came on the same day that Vince Musat il-Kohhu admitted his role in the murder and got 15 years in prison in a plea-bargaining deal. He also received a pardon related to the murder of Chircop.

 

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