Police investigations still ongoing
The Police do not consider the arraignment of the three suspects in Court on Tuesday as the end of the complicated and delicate operation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Sources speaking to tvm.com.mt explained that there were common links between the ten people who were arrested, but so far there was not enough evidence to show that seven of the men who were arrested on Monday, and who were later released on police bail, had anything to do with the murder.
The accused had been under arrest for 38 hours
Vince Muscat and brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio were taken to Court on Tuesday evening under maximum security. They had been under arrest for 38 hours following the raid early on Monday morning by the Armed Forces in Marsa where there is a room under the ‘potato tents’ and where it is believed that they plotted the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In a Court room packed with journalists and police officers, appearing in front of Magistrate Neville Camilleri, the three accused seemed calm while occasionally whispering to one another, even though they have remained silent throughout their arrest.
Daphne’s husband stares straight into eyes of the suspects
Also present in the Courtroom was Dr Peter Caruana Galizia, husband of the murdered journalist, who is also a lawyer. He was seen staring straight into the eyes of the suspects and at one point had to be stopped by the Police when tried to take their photo with his mobile. Some of Daphne’s friends were also there, as well as Dr Jason Azzopardi and Dr Therese Comodini Cachia who are appearing parte civili for the Caruana Galizia family.
The three suspects, who are aged between 53 – 55, did not engage the services of a lawyer to assist them, so the Court appointed legal aid lawyer Dr Benjamin Valenzia. Three criminal lawyers who in the past have assisted the accused in other court cases told tvm.com.mt that they had not been contacted to appear for the suspects.
The charges being faced by il-Koħħu, il-Fulu u ċ-Ċiniż
Apart from the murder of the journalist, the three suspects, who are presumed innocent until found guilty, have been charged with plotting with other persons in Malta and abroad to carry out this crime, of using and being in possession of explosives, of being involved in a criminal ring and of being relapsers.
The men who were arraigned by Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra, pleaded not guilty. Magistrate Camilleri decided that the arrest was valid and ordered a freezing of their assets. The accused did not ask for bail and were immediately taken to the Corradino Correctional Facility until the Court proceedings continue.
The criminal past of the three suspects
Although the three men are well-known to the Police, they have never received a jail sentence. Three years ago, Vince Muscat was hit in the neck by three gunshots in Msida, and three years ago he denied any involvement in the HSBC robbery in Qormi. Muscat is waiting to face trial next month, which has been pending.
George Degiorgio known as iċ-Ċiniż had been arraigned in Court charged with the illegal possession of a weapon and drugs, while his brother Alfred known as il-Fulu was one of the accused in the hold-up which took place 17 years ago on the Group 4 security van in Santa Venera in October 2000. A year ago, the Court found him not guilty.
Who commissioned the murder and what was the motive?
The suspects were among the ten people who were arrested on Monday morning in an operation spread over at leat nine localities. The seven other men were released on police bail, but the Police may round them up once again and possibly arraign them in Court in case there is enough evidence that they were also involved in the Bidnija murder.
Sources have told tvm.com.mt that, from their investigations, the ten men have common links between them, some of which have raised suspicion more than others. The Police bail is valid for three months.
While the arrest of the three suspects is being considered a very important development, the Police are still carefully investigating and scrutinizing every lead or evidence to try and establish who commissioned the murder and what the motive was.
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