One of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s alleged killers wants Prime Minister Robert Abela to play no role whatsoever in a decision to grant or deny him a presidential pardon.
Vincent Muscat, known as il-Koħħu, also wants an as-yet unnamed minister who he alleges was involved in a crime he has information about to also be excluded from the decision to grant him a pardon.
Muscat filed a judicial protest on Wednesday against the prime minister, the principal permanent secretary, the justice minister, the State Advocate and the registrar of the criminal courts to that effect.
He is one of three men facing charges of having planted and detonated the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia in October 2017. He is pleading not guilty and is also seeking a pardon in exchange for information about the murder and other previous crimes.
Abela, a lawyer by profession, has confirmed that he previously represented two brothers, known as Tal-Maksar, who Muscat is expected to name as criminal accomplices in his pardon application.
The prime minister told Times of Malta last month that he was seeking advice about whether he should be involved in Muscat’s pardon decision.
In his judicial protest, Muscat said that the prime minister’s conflict of interest in this matter is “crystal clear”.
Muscat noted that Abela had only spoken about his involvement in an eventual pardon decision in reply to a question, and had not done so “spontaneously”.
Moreover, two days ago when speaking to MaltaToday, Abela had referred to Vincent Muscat as an “arch-criminal”, the judicial protest noted.
Describing Muscat in such terms, cast a shadow upon the judicial process since it appears that the executive “has already condemned [Muscat] even before he has faced a judicial process according to law” and could never lead to “objective justice.”
“Such speech was doubtlessly not worthy of a serious prime minister and showed, without a trace of doubt, that his judgment is clouded and that he is in no position to deliver a sound and neutral (san u spassjonat) decision when called for.”
Whilst claiming that the prime minister’s conflict of interest was “crystal clear,” Muscat pointed out that Abela was to act in “the best interest of the whole country rather than in the interest of his party or the government he supposedly leads.”
And he ought to do so without fear or favour, according to his oath of office, Muscat added.
Muscat is also seeking to ensure that a minister alleged to have been involved in a years-old crime also be excluded from having any say in the pardon request.
Lawyer and politician Jason Azzopardi claimed last week that Muscat’s pardon request made mention of an existing cabinet minister, who he did not name.
In his judicial protest, Muscat also demanded that Abela withdraw his comment about him and apologise for it.
The judicial protest was signed by lawyer Marc Sant and filed before the First Hall, Civil Court.
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