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Deputy Commissioner reports 'sick' as Caruana Galizia Constitutional hearing continues

Case adjourned

Mr Valletta and his wife, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana.

Mr Valletta and his wife, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana.

The hearing of the constitutional case instituted by slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family, requesting the removal of Silvio Valletta from his central role in the murder investigation was adjourned on Thursday because the deputy Commissioner was unwell.

When all the interested parties and their legal counsel appeared before the First Hall, Civil Court, presided over by Mr Justice Silvio Meli, lawyer Victoria Buttigieg from the office of the Attorney General informed the court that Mr Valletta, the sole witness to be produced by the respondents, was unable to attend since he was unwell.

“This is a lack of respect towards the justice system,” observed the judge upon hearing the news, pointing out that the respondents ought to have filed an application informing the court beforehand.

Read: Judge slams 'manipulative orchestration' ahead of Caruana Galizia constitutional case

In the presence of the late journalist’s husband Peter Caruana Galizia and Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, the Court declared that the respondents’ lawyer was to exhibit a medical certificate attesting this fact during the next sitting, adjourning the case to a later date this month.

The widower and children of Ms Caruana Galizia had 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 had requested the court to declare Mr Valletta’s role in the investigation following the October 16 bomb attack 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.

Following her revelations regarding the Panama Papers, the journalist had criticised the shortcomings of the FIAU board, one member of which was Mr Valletta who, as deputy Police Commissioner, is also playing a central role in investigations into Ms Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia and Eve Borg Costanzi are assisting the Caruana Galizia family. Lawyer Victoria Buttigieg from the AG’s office is counsel to the respondents.

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