Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family forced to litigate given Malta’s refusal to hold an independent judicial public inquiry

The family of Daphne Caruana Galizia has been calling for an independent judicial public inquiry into the question of whether her death was preventable since 8 August 2018. The basis for these requests has been set out in three detailed legal Opinions, published by the family in the interests of transparency, which date from December 2017 onwards. They set out the basis for the family’s request and why such an inquiry is required in order to comply with the requirements of Articles 2 and 10 ECHR.

In the eighteen months since the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb on 16 October 2017, her family has been raising questions regarding the adequacy of the investigations being undertaken in Malta. Concerns have also been raised by a number of bodies, including the Venice Commission, LIBE (the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs), and the European Parliament itself passed a resolution in March 2019 calling for an independent probe into alleged corruption in Malta and Slovakia.

A final call for Malta to agree to hold a public inquiry was issued by the family on 30 November 2018 (available here). It was made clear then that if Malta continued to refuse to take this step, the family would issue proceedings in the Maltese courts initially and, if necessary, in the European Court of Human Rights.

As Malta continues to refuse to take such action, the family has now indicated its intention to litigate. This was set out in a letter to the Attorney General from the family’s solicitor, Tony Murphy, on Thursday 4 April 2019 and on Monday 8 April 2019 the family filed a judicial letter, the first formal step in the process.

Daphne’s son Paul Caruana Galizia said as follows:

“This is the second time our family has had to challenge the Maltese authorities’ failure to comply with the European Convention on  Human Rights regarding their investigation, or lack of it, into whether my mother’s death could have been prevented. No bereaved family should  have to litigate in order to establish the truth surrounding their loved one’s death and we cannot begin to grieve until the truth has been served.” 

The family’s solicitor in London, Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy said as follows:

“It is an indictment of the rule of law in Malta that no investigation has ever been established into whether the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia could have been prevented. Unless and until this central question is independently investigated, other lives remain at risk and the Caruana Galizia family remain without justice. The Prime Minister has nothing to fear from a public inquiry but the truth.”

The family is represented by solicitor Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy in London, and barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Jennifer Robinson, of Doughty Street Chambers, London, and Therese Comodini Cachia, Jason Azzopardi and Eve Borg Costanzi in Valletta.

Today – 9 April 2019 – the Council of Europe’s Legal Affairs Committee is holding a further hearing in relation to the report by Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt, on ‘Daphne Caruana Galizia’s Assassination and the Rule of Law, in Malta and Beyond: Ensuring the Whole Truth Emerges.’ Appearing will be Malta’s Minister for Justice and Attorney General, and Daphne’s sons Andrew and Matthew Caruana Galizia will be in attendance.