Alfred Degiorgio pleaded through his lawyer on his and his brother George’s behalf yesterday that he cannot get a fair trial because they’ve already been tried by the media since their arrest.
Degiorgio complained Joseph Muscat, then prime minister, spoke at a press conference at the time of his arrest and said he, along with the other arrested people, were suspects behind the “barbaric act” of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia.
He said there was worldwide media interest in their arrest and the case against them. He complained Prime Minister Robert Abela described them as “forming part of organised crime” when he announced the rejection of their application for a pardon. And, Degiorgio complained, he was repeatedly denied bail on grounds of public order, which, his lawyer suggested, shows just how prejudiced the public is against them.
Now the Degiorgios, like everyone else, is entitled to a fair trial. That’s the difference between us and them. They did not give Daphne Caruana Galizia a fair hearing before executing a death sentence she was not even aware of. They didn’t bother to find out who she was and what she did. But we’ll give them a fair hearing and we’ll make sure all their human rights are respected.
But the notion that their rights are prejudiced by effective media conviction before time is frankly ridiculous, especially given George Degiorgio’s interview with Reuters reporter Stephen Grey recorded well before this latest human rights complaint they filed and broadcast to Maltese audiences around the same time.
No one presumed the Degiorgios’ guilt as much as George Degiorgio in that interview. He blithely admitted killing Daphne Caruana Galizia in cold blood, without knowing who she was, for money. He admitted plotting her murder on and off for 2 years. He implicated explicitly his brother and Vince Muscat (who in any case has also confessed and implicated him in turn).
Even without the interview, the application for a pardon to turn state’s evidence (which he quoted Robert Abela speaking about) is an implicit admission of guilt, that cannot be used in a court room but cannot be ignored by the public.
Add to that the evidence that the alleged mastermind of this crime – Yorgen Fenech – whom they have not yet explicitly implicated paid for their costs in the tame between their arrest and his.
Alfred Degiorgio has already committed murder to prevent us from thinking. That’s what killing Daphne was about, though he may not have known it at the time. Now he’s going to court to complain that when he was caught, we did not stop thinking.