Brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio sat at the dock, while Vincent Muscat sat right behind them, under the watchful eyes of heavily armed security officers as Madam Justice Edwina Grima pronounced her decision on the preliminary pleas that had been raised by the Degiorgios to the bill of indictment issued by the Attorney General.
Several sittings had been held wherein lengthy arguments were made on 118 pleas raised by the Degiorgios and some eight pleas raised by Muscat, rebutted by the prosecution.
In a 209-page long judgment, the court rejected all those pleas, stating that, at the opportune stage, it would address the jurors at the upcoming trial, warning them of the probatory value of the evidence put forward.
The court would also guide the jurors on the due weight to be given to that evidence when making their final deliberations before the verdict.
The court also directed that during the trial no reference was to be made to the accused’s criminal record, save for those specific instances envisaged by law.
Following Friday’s decision, the accused had a right to raise ulterior pleas on any fresh evidence that may have been or may be brought before the murder compilation after the issue of the bill of indictment.
Among that evidence, there are likely to be fresh transcripts of testimonies and further cross-examination of Melvin Theuma, the self-confessed middleman in the assassination.
After reading out the operative part of the judgment the court adjourned the case sine die, pending any appeal or until the appointment of the trial.
All three accused gave notice of appeal.
Deputy AG Philip Galea Farrugia led the prosecution. Lawyer William Cuschieri assisted the Degiorgios, while lawyer Marc Sant assisted Muscat. Lawyer Jason Azzopardi appeared parte civile.
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