The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

Degiorgio brothers ask court to cancel proceedings against them, cite illegally obtained evidence

Tuesday, 12 October 2021, 14:57 Last update: about 3 days ago

A lawyer for the two brothers indicted for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has demanded the cancellation of all criminal proceedings against them, claiming that the evidence used was obtained illegally.

This emerged in an application filed before the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional jurisdiction by lawyer William Cuschieri, who is appearing for George and Alfred Degiorgio.

The two men have been under arrest since 2017 in connection with the car bombing, which killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

In the application filed earlier this week, Cuschieri points out that the prosecution had made an emphasis on mobile phone intercepts, pointing to a decision last month by a court of appeal which ordered the expunging of some of the recordings.

The Commissioner of Police had asserted that the phone taps were made legally, but, as the Degiorgios argued, “despite these assertions by the Commissioner of Police, he completely failed to bring evidence to prove the allegations were true.”

The application argues that none of the recordings of the intercepts was exhibited and neither was a transcript of the intercepts. The Head of the Security Services was never summoned in order to confirm the veracity or otherwise of his allegations, pointed out Cuschieri.

Neither did the Commissioner of Police submit evidence of the necessary warrant by the minister responsible.

“The compilation of evidence is now closed, and Degiorgio is indicted, but despite the maximal importance of this evidence, the AG and Commissioner of Police chose not to exhibit them.”

“This certainly means that the evidence – if it can be called that – that the Commissioner of Police has long been saying that he has and on the basis of which [the Degiorgios ]were arraigned, and continue to be held in custody, was not legally acquired evidence and the plaintiffs are entirely devoid of any opportunity to rebut the same.

“In simple terms, it is clear that if the intercepts…really happened, these were done entirely illegally...”

Besides this, the lawyer argued that it was also similarly clear that the Head of the Security Services was responsible for this illegality “as he is the person who made the alleged illegal interceptions.”

“They also exhibited and are trying to continue to exhibit evidence which was obtained as a result of the illegal evidence…they themselves admitted that they could not have reached certain conclusions had they not used the intercepts.

Whilst the plaintiffs agreed with the Court of Criminal Appeal’s order to expunge certain recordings; they said they could never agree with the fact that the prosecution’s evidence, which they had arrived at illegally, could be exhibited before a jury.

The Degiorgio’s lawyer asked the court to find a breach of their fundamental human rights, declare that the defendants had committed illegalities in their prosecution of the Degiorgio brothers, establish which evidence was obtained illegally and order the cancellation of all proceedings taken against them.

They also demanded compensation for the alleged breach of their rights.

  • don't miss