The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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Protection order had been issued for murder victim Bernice Cassar – minister

Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 14:10 Last update: about 8 days ago

Minister for Home Affairs Byron Camilleri said that murder victim Bernice Cassar had taken the main murder suspect to court in August, where the court had issued a protection order in favour of the woman.

Cassar was killed in a shooting in Kordin at around 8 am on Tuesday on a road close to Mcast. She was a mother of two from Qrendi, aged 40, and was driving a Nissan Qashqai at the time of the incident.

Cassar had initially filed a report in May and the police had investigated reports of domestic violence made by Cassar, who had also pressed charges against the lead suspect in the murder, Camilleri added. He said that the criminal case was set to be heard in November of next year.

Camilleri expressed his sadness for such a horrible crime and expressed his condolences to the victim’s family.

He indicated that the police offered some form of “assistance” to the victim, but he did not elaborate on this point. However, he pointed out that the charges against the main suspect were not enough to stop something like this from happening.

Camilleri made it clear that action needs to be taken and people need to be held responsible if there were any shortcomings.

Therefore, he and Justice Minister Jonathan Attard have appointed retired judge Geoffrey Valencia to lead an inquiry to see whether there were any shortcomings in the investigation.

Camilleri described the murder as being a case of “femicide”.

Earlier this year, following the murder of Paulina Dembska in Sliema, a new law was introduced which allows judges to dish out harsher sentences if the murder was committed with femicidal intent, and defendants will no longer be able to use the argument that the murder was committed out of passion.

In a statement, the Nationalist Party asked who will take responsibility for a system that failed a woman who ended up being killed.

It is clear that laws on their own are not enough. The government has as yet to understand that we have a social crisis. Its only intgerest is to pass a sweet message that all is in order, the PN said.
This is the attitude of an arrogant government. The inquiry that has been set up must establish what shortcomings must be addressed to avoid similar tragedies.

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