George Degiorgio's lawyers have filed a judicial protest against Robert Abela, saying his comments about the convicted killer being allowed out of jail could sway potential jurors.

Degiorgio’s lawyers are calling on Abela to immediately withdraw his "inappropriate" comments.

Degiorgio is currently serving a 40-year sentence for having murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, as well as an added four years for money laundering.

He also had three other pending cases, including one concerning his alleged involvement in another murder, that of lawyer Carmel Chircop.

He was allowed out of prison on Friday to attend the baptism of his grandchild and was photographed at the event. His son was questioned by the police on Sunday for having written “money talks” under a comment of his father at the event.

On Sunday, the prime minister said he disagreed with the “insensitive” decision to allow Degiorgio out. Abela said the decision was taken by the law courts.

Degiorgio has taken exception to those comments and on Monday started legal proceedings to have the prime minister take back his words.

The courts ought to be allowed to function serenely without direct or indirect interference, Degiorgio’s lawyers argued in a judicial protest.

“The court's duty is not to please the masses led by the media, but to mete out justice within the framework of Maltese law,” they continued.

A criminal court had approved Degiorgio’s leave request, subject to a number of strict conditions while a court of appeal concerning another of Degiorgio’s pending cases also granted its approval, subject to the decision of the director of prisons.

“On his part, the Director, in addition to following the orders of the Criminal Court, had followed the recommendations issued by the Prison Leave Advisory Board, which had also found no obstacle to this prison leave being granted,” Degiorgio’s lawyers said.  

The lawyers said that it would have been discriminatory and unjust to deny Degiorgio prison leave, when prisoners were regularly allowed out for special family occasions.

Through his comments, Abela had influenced people who could end up serving as jurors in proceedings that Degiorgio is still undergoing, the lawyers wrote.

“While many pontificated about what happened, the truth is far what was said,” Degiorgio’s lawyers wrote.

Lawyers Leslie Cuschieri and Noel Bianco signed the judicial protest on Degiorgio’s behalf.

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