A second Magistrate has today recused herself from hearing the compilation of evidence against the three persons accused of executing the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Today is the thirteenth day of a 30-day limit of time within which a Magistrate must decide there is a prima facie case against them. If that does not happen, il-Koħħu, il-Fulu and iċ-Ċiniż walk out of the courtroom discharged.
That is not likely to happen. A third Magistrate will need to be asked, or a fourth, or a fifth … until the last man or woman qualified to hear the evidence will need to hear the case whatever complaint is filed by the lawyers of the accused. The law of necessity will require the last Magistrate to hear the evidence no matter the complaint and that Magistrate will need to extend the 30 day limit in order to hear the evidence in a reasonable period of time.
Today’s Magistrate was Charmaine Galea. Daphne Caruana Galizia had noted in her blog that Charmaine Galea had been Toni Abela’s law partner. The latter, former grandee of the Labour Party had been made a judge on the Maltese bench having failed the European Parliament’s scrunity in the choice of a member on the Court of Auditors. Charmaine Galea would eventually be made a Magistrate.
Having said this on her blog was deemed by Charmaine Galea today as a sufficient reason not to hear the case.
I am not qualified to evaluate the correctness of her reasoning. As a layman I can only speculate that Magistrates are not exactly lining up to hear the evidence against these alleged serial contract assassins. They may very well be afraid of consequences outside the courtroom.
Most of the remaining Magistrates are not likely to hear this case. Anthony Vella is out because he is the inquiring Magistrate. No need to say much about Consuelo Scerri Herrera. Aaron Bugeja, Josette Demicoli and Natasha Galea Sciberras are all conducting inquiries in Panama and related matters so they’re unlikely candidates. Marseanne Farrugia, Monica Vella and Francesco Depasquale do not normally hear criminal cases so are unlikely to be involved. Yana Micallef Stafrace is very likely to point out the argument Charmaine Galea used to justify her recusal applies to her as well. She too is related to a former Labour Minister.
That leaves Ian Farrugia, Audrey Demicoli or Caroline Farrugia Frendo.