Caruana Galizia murder case: Judge rules Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta should not be involved

Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta has been ordered by the courts to desist from taking part in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation as a result of a potential conflict of interest due to his marriage to a cabinet minister 

Peter Caruana Galizia (left) and Silvio Valletta (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Peter Caruana Galizia (left) and Silvio Valletta (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

A judge of the superior courts has ruled that Assistant Commissioner of Police Silvio Valletta should not be involved in the investigation into the murder of journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The Caruana Galizia family contested Valletta's presence in the murder investigation, insisting he had a conflict of interest as a result of his marriage to Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana and his role as a board member of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU). The family said Valletta's link to a cabinet minister was problematic since the slain journalist had written numerous times about alleged wrongdoing of members of the executive.

Judge Silvio Meli said that it was natural that doubts are raised when the person in question is a politically exposed person, a husband of a minister and an FIAU chairman. He ordered that Valletta desist from taking part in the investigation.

The judge said that all of Valletta's involvement in the investigation must be re-examined by his replacement.

The judgement was delivered on Tuesday morning. 

The court's decision to remove the Deputy Commissioner from his own investigation is unprecedented. It is unclear at this stage whether the Attorney General will be appealing the judgement. 

The court ruling elicited an immediate reaction from Daphne Caruana Galizia's son, Matthew. He tweeted that his mother had been investigating his suspicious unwillingness to charge government officials. 

Former Opposition leader, Simon Busuttil retweeted Matthew Caruana Galizia's comment, calling it a step towards justice. 

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Eve Borg Costanzi and Therese Commodini Cachia appeared for the plaintiff, while lawyer Victoria Buttigieg represented the office of the Attorney General in the proceedings.

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