The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Degiorgio brothers refuse to testify once again in Joseph Muscat libel

Monday, 4 December 2023, 15:18 Last update: about 4 months ago

Jailed hitmen George and Alfred Degiorgio have remained steadfast in their decision to not testify in ongoing proceedings in a libel case filed by disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Last week, the Degiorgio brothers, who are serving 40-year prison sentences for carrying out Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder in 2017, both refused to testify against Muscat in the libel case, their lawyer, Noel Bianco, officially citing ongoing Constitutional proceedings.

They insist they will not “testify for free”, insisting they have information which implicate top government officials in the journalist’s death.

The brothers were called to testify in Muscat’s libel case against lawyer Christian Grima, instituted over a Facebook post in which Grima suggested that Muscat had a hand in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Testifying in October 2022, Muscat had strenuously rejected the assertion, telling the court that Grima had "crossed a red line there."

Middleman Melvin Theuma, who received a presidential pardon under the Muscat administration, is also expected to testify.

Lawyers Noel Bianco and Leslie Cuschieri who are appearing for George and Alfred Degiorgio, cited ongoing constitutional proceedings filed by the two, as reason for them not to testify.

Last week, the court said the defendants only had a legal right not to incriminate themselves in criminal proceedings, and did not have a right to refuse to testify in order to avoid causing prejudice to Constitutional cases.

Bianco then argued that the proceedings with respect to the Caruana Galizia murder were not over, because the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech had been reopened due to “mistakes by the prosecution.”

Lawyer Pawlu Lia is appearing for Joseph Muscat, lawyer Carl Grech is representing Grima in the proceedings.

On Monday, the court ordered the Degiorgio brothers’ detention over their refusal to testify.

Magistrate Victor Axiak is presiding.

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