Caruana Galizia murder bore 'close resemblance to mafia execution' - accused to remain behind bars

Accused will have no qualms about leaving country and going into hiding - magistrate

The Degiorgio brothers and Vince Muscat (centre).

The Degiorgio brothers and Vince Muscat (centre).

Updated 9.11am

A fresh request for bail made by the three men accused of the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has again been rejected by Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit.

Submissions on bail were made last week by lawyers representing brothers Alfred Degiorgio (known as Il-fulu) and George Degiorgio (Iċ-Ċiniz) as well as Vince Muscat, (known as il-koħħu). The decision was delivered in chambers.

The three have been under arrest since a dawn raid on a Marsa warehouse on December 4. They were arraigned on the following day and pleaded not guilty to the car bomb murder which shocked the nation on October 16.

Magistrate Claire StafraceZammit has already ruled that there is enough evidence for the three to stand trial.

She also ruled against bail in April, saying that the very serious nature of the offences charged, the protection of public order, the risk that the alleged culprits could possibly commit other offences as well as the risk of absconding, especially in view of the fact they were facing a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, all warranted against the granting of bail. 

In her latest decision, the magistrate again referred to the above points.
She also pointed out that the conduct sheet of the accused showed that they had been convicted for a wide range of crimes. Although the defence had argued that this could not be held against them, in a case such as the present one, this had to be given importance.

On the basis of their record, if the accused were granted bail they would have no qualms about leaving the country and going into hiding.

This was reinforced by the fact that the accused, although presumed innocent, faced a long prison term if convicted of murder. 

The way the murder had been committed was very disturbing and bore a close resemblance to a mafia execution. Therefore the court felt it should protect society from the disturbance which granting bail would create.

The magistrate also pointed out that the murder victim was not an ordinary person, but a journalist. Therefore her murder had to be seen as an attack on freedom of expression, which was a pillar of democratic society.

It also appeared that the alleged perpetrators did not act on their own and therefore other persons involved in the crime could still be out there. Granting bail to the accused could prejudice the arrest and arraignment of other persons.

Bail was therefore denied. 

The Degiorgio brothers last week were also arraigned to face fresh charges of money laundering. 

The arrest of the three murder suspects in Marsa.The arrest of the three murder suspects in Marsa.