Two of the men currently awaiting trial over the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia have been once again been denied bail, the court’s main source of worry lying in “the wide ramifications” of the murder plot.
George and Alfred Degiorgio had filed a fresh application that was debated before the Criminal Court that is currently hearing preliminary pleas to the bill of indictment issued against the brothers and the third alleged hitman, Vincent Muscat.
“It is evident that the criminal web involved in this case has not yet been completely blocked” since there are third parties possibly involved, “and most likely identified by the police,” the court declared.
The applicants’ lawyer had argued on Friday that the accused were willing to subject themselves to stringent conditions, including electronic tagging that at present had been introduced by the Prisons director, allowing sentenced inmates to venture beyond the prison walls while being closely monitored by prison authorities.
Director Alex Dalli explained that, so far, the pilot project had been successful and no abuse had been registered.
However, deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia countered that the gravity of the crime, the main fear of absconding and the possible tampering with evidence, all militated against the granting of bail.
The court, presided over by Madam Justice Edwina Grima, delivered a decree in chambers, citing the main source of worry as “the wide ramifications” of the murder plot, with third parties allegedly involved in the assassination only recently arraigned.
Moreover, the inquiry into the journalist’s murder was still ongoing and third parties were still under investigation.
Worse still, the Degiorgios appeared to have communicated with the world outside even while behind bars, under preventive arrest.
In view of this, the court could “never have the peace of mind that the applicants could offer the necessary legal guarantees for bail to be granted,” said Madam Justice Grima, observing that there was no legal framework to regulate electronic tagging and that persons under preventive arrest were subject to the authority of the court and the police, not the director of prisons.
Granting bail would “possibly hinder the process of administering justice so that all wrongdoers are brought to face justice and answer for their crimes,” concluded the court, turning down the bail request.
Lawyer William Cuschieri was defence counsel. Lawyer Jason Azzopardi assisted the Caruana Galizia family.