A man charged with murdering his father-in-law had assisted a woman who killed her husband 20 years ago, the Attorney General’s Office said in an application for bail to be revoked.

Gregorio Scicluna, 53, from Kalkara, was granted bail by Magistrate Josette Demicoli two weeks ago against a personal guarantee of €30,000 and a deposit of €30,000 but remained behind bars because he could not afford the deposit.

He is pleading not guilty to murdering Joseph Caruana last October, trying to murder his ex-wife, Maria Simone Caruana, 27, their five-year-old daughter, Yasmin, and three-year-old Shania. Ms Caruana and Shania were hit by gunshot pellets fired at close range.

He had given the woman, who he was having an affair with, a revolver

The accused denied stealing the weapon used in the shooting at his house in Kalkara, being in possession of an unlicensed firearm, handling stolen property and relapsing.

The Attorney General is insisting Mr Scicluna should remain in preventive custody considering his criminal past.

In the application, lawyer Philip Galea Farrugia, for the Attorney General, noted that about 20 years ago the accused had been found guilty of assisting a woman who had shot dead her husband.

Mr Scicluna had given the woman, with whom he was having an affair, the revolver used in the murder.

Furthermore, Mr Scicluna had been convicted of sex offences, including cases involving minors.

Dr Galea Farrugia said the accused was very untrustworthy and seemed to have learnt nothing from his previous convictions.

Indeed, he added, the opposite seemed to be the case as the crimes he committed became more serious, culminating in Mr Caruana’s murder. His young daughters had witnessed the murder and one of them suffered injuries after being hit with gunshot pellets from the shotgun fired by the accused.

Not only did he shoot the victim dead but he then hit him on the head so hard that the weapon’s butt broke, Dr Galea Farrugia pointed out.

While presumption of innocence was a cardinal principle in the rule of law, which also included the granting of bail, this was a particular case where the accused should have been retained in custody.

He noted that, in granting bail, the magistrate had ordered that the accused should not go to Fgura, Kalkara and Tarxien, to give the victims peace of mind though the wounds were still fresh.

The incident, Dr Galea Farrugia noted, only happened 11 months ago and the man’s daughters and former partner were terrified about the possibility of him approaching them or worse, especially considering that the two young children were the only eyewitnesses to the murder.

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