A statement Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia made in parliament about the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder could be grounds for criminal action against him, the late journalist's family have said.
Earlier this week, minister Michael Farrugia told parliament that "he was informed" that the magistrate leading the murder inquiry "has access to certain personal items which belonged to Ms Caruana Galizia."
He was answering a parliamentary question made by PN MP and former leader Simon Busuttil.
In a letter (see PDF) to Mr Farrugia dated November 27, Ms Caruana Galizia's husband Peter said that divulging information about the inquiry or the existence of any potential pieces of evidence risked sabotaging the investigation and could be grounds of imprisonment.
Article 135 of the criminal code, the family noted, set a maximum three year prison sentence for any public officer who hindered the execution of the law. Article 257 also provided for jail terms for disclosing secret information.
"We remind you that the perpetrators of the assassination are most likely to have access to a computer and are capable of understanding spoken and written English," Dr Caruana Galizia wrote.
He went on to note that the law also precluded police officers from divulging information about cases, and said the minister should have reported the issue to the police commissioner and asked him to open an internal investigation into leaks to the press about the murder investigation.
"My family and I are prepared to use all legal means at our disposal to ensure that you and the government you represent are not permitted to sabotage either the magisterial inquiry or police investigation, which according to law must be independent, impartial and expedient," he concluded.
Minister says claims are unfounded
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Farrugia dismissed the letter, saying it interfered with his ministerial and parliamentary responsibilities and could be considered a breach of parliamentary privilege.
The sentence he had uttered which the family had objected to related to information already in the public domain, the minister claimed.
He said the family had not made similar claims about Dr Busuttil, and said he reserved the right to take all steps to protect his ministerial and parliamentary duties, adding that he would do his best to respect the family's wishes.
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