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Caruana Galizia's family want deputy commissioner removed from murder investigation

Silvio Valletta's marriage to a minister and FIAU links cited by family

Daphne Caruana Galizia's husband and children are seeking the removal of deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta from the investigation of Ms Caruana Galizia's murder.

They instituted constitutional proceedings against the Police Commissioner, the Attorney General and Mr Valletta claiming that the involvement of the latter in the murder investigation could breach their right to a fair hearing. 

The four family members and heirs of the assassinated journalist, who was killed in a car bomb last month, have requested the court to declare that deputy Commissioner Valletta’s role in the investigation impinged upon the objectivity and impartiality necessary in such circumstances.

Deputy Commissioner Valletta, together with his wife Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana, had been targeted by harsh criticism by Ms Caruana Galizia, whose role as an investigative journalist was to place such politically exposed persons under public scrutiny, they said.

Following her revelations regarding the Panama Papers, the journalist had criticised the shortcomings of the FIAU Board, one member of which was Mr Valletta.

As part of the investigative team, Mr Valletta played an active part in the press conference delivered by the Police Commissioner three days after the October attack. It was Mr Valletta who supplied information regarding the handling of investigations, also explaining the way forward, the family argued.

A murder investigation had to be conducted according to standards and criteria which ensure that it is independent and impartial, the applicants declared. There could be no objective analysis of evidence unless the persons involved in the investigation are “completely independent from any connection which could cast a shadow” over their objectivity and impartiality.

As a politically exposed person previously targeted by Ms Caruana Galizia, Mr Valletta could not offer such guarantee.

Therefore, the applicants called upon the First Hall, Civil Court to provide adequate measures to ensure that their fundamental right to a fair hearing was safeguarded if necessary by declaring that Mr Valletta should no longer participate in the investigation and that decisions he had taken so far be reviewed by anyone appointed to take his place.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia signed the application.

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