Updated | Constitutional court upholds judgment against Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta

Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta, married to Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana, will have to stop being part of the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation

Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta (right)
Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta (right)

Updated at 1.35pm with police statement

The constitutional court has upheld a judgment ruling that the involvement of Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation breached her family’s fundamental human rights.

The court upheld the order for Valletta to desist from continuing to be part of the investigation but the court refuted the family’s request to revise all decisions taken as part of the investigation.

Peter Caruana Galizia, the slain journalist’s widower, and their sons, Matthew, Andrew and Paul had filed the constitutional case, arguing that Valletta’s involvement in the investigation had breached their human rights.

Valletta is married to Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana and also sits on the board of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit. The family contended that Valletta had a conflict in the investigation since his marriage to the minister made him a politically exposed person.

The family argued that they suffered a breach of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 6 (right to fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Constitutional Court, presided by Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi, Judge Giannino Caruana Demajo and Judge Noel Cuschieri noted that the family’s complaint was not about the murder investigation itself. 

The investigation has led to charges being filed against three men, accused of carrying out the murder.

The constitutional court said it was not necessary to revise the acts and decisions already taken in the investigation, as the family had requested.

“They insist that this was a political killing and therefore it is not excluded that the mastermind or masterminds are people coming from the political sphere and even in a high rank in government. As the Deputy Police Commissioner had testified, nobody is excluded, and therefore neither is his wife… and neither is he excluded.”

The court said there were objective reasons to have “serious doubts” as to the impartiality of the Deputy Police Commissioner “due to a conflict of interest between him and his role as the person actively leading the police investigations”.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb last year and three men have since been charged with her murder
Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb last year and three men have since been charged with her murder

Valletta’s presence in the investigations could lead to “serious doubts in the mind of the citizen” as to whether the investigation was carried out impartially.

The Court observed that these doubts would be worsened if the investigations failed to establish who the mastermind was and would cause reputational damage to Malta as well as undue suffering to the victim’s family.

“A negative outcome could generate an element of anger and mistrust in the institutions as well as the Deputy Police Commissioner and his wife,” the court said.

The court confirmed the order that Valletta desist from taking any further part in the investigation.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Eve Borg Costanzi and Therese Commodini Cachia appeared for the Caruana Galizia family.

Police statement

The police force said that Valletta had withdrawn from the Caruana Galizia murder investigation when the court first ruled on the matter. Now that the decision has been confirmed on appeal, the police said Valletta will continue to abstain from the case.

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