Ta’ Maksar brother Adrian Agius is seeking bail, with his lawyer arguing that all civilian witnesses in the case against him have testified and that there exist no reason for his client to continue to be held in police custody. 

Agius stands accused of commissioning the 2015 murder of lawyer Carmel Chircop, which prosecutors say was carried out by Agius’ associates Jamie Vella, George Degiorgio and Vince Muscat. 

Appearing in court on Monday morning, Agius’ lawyer Alfred Abela argued that arguments against granting Agius bail were now non-existent. 

Abela noted that the prosecution had advanced the case briskly and that all civilian witnesses had now testified. His client had cooperated throughout, from the moment he was arrested, he noted, arguing that the prosecution had to prove that its concerns were well-founded rather than just state them. 

Agius’ lawyer made a distinction between his client and another notorious person he was allegedly in business with. 

“He’s certainly not like Ryan Schembri, who fled the island and left a huge mess behind,” Abela argued. 

Schembri, who owned More Supermarkets, was in business with Agius and the two owed Chircop €750,000 at the time he was murdered.  Schembri fled Malta after amassing millions in debts

Abela argued that concerns about a bail decision sparking a public outcry, which had been cited in cases concerning Yorgen Fenech, Keith Schembri and two former soldiers accused of killing a man for racially motivated reasons, had no basis in domestic law. 

“Tell me where the notion of public interest exists in local law,” he argued. “It doesn’t exist.” 

He noted that Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech, two former AFM soldiers who stand accused of murdering Lassana Cisse, are both currently out on bail. 

Prosecuting inspector Wayne Camilleri objected to Agius’ request for bail, noting that the accused was a businessman who regularly travelled abroad. Fellow prosecutor and lawyer George Camilleri built on that point, noting that Chircop’s murder was a contract killing – a very serious crime.

“The presumption of innocence is indeed sacrosanct, but it is a presumption nonetheless,” Camilleri argued. 

Having heard arguments on both sides, the magistrate declared that she would deliver a decree on Agius’ bail request in chambers. 

Earlier in Monday’s hour-long hearing, paramedics recalled how they had responded to an early morning call in October 2015 just after shift changeover at 7:00am. Within five minutes or so, two emergency nurses were bending over Chircop’s lifeless body, lying face upwards in a pool of blood inside the Birkirkara garage where he had been gunned down, two gunshot wounds clearly visible on his abdomen. 

Using torches for light, they checked for signs of life but found none. 

The patient was not breathing, said emergency nurse Miriam Buhagiar. Touching his wrist and neck, she found no pulse, the nurse explained, recalling how the skin felt cold. It was clammy and mottled, she said, explaining that that was a sign that the man had been dead for over five to ten minutes. His pupils did not react to light and that, too, was a sign that the patient was dead. 

Her fellow nurse, Gayle Caruana, said that the victim appeared “white” as they bent over him where he lay, feet jutting out through the open garage door.

The case continues in July. 

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