The family of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have filed an application for the recusal of Magistrate Nadine Lia from the case against Yorgen Fenech on the grounds that she is the daughter-in-law of Pawlu Lia, who works as a lawyer for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his former chief of staff Keith Schembri.
The Caruana Galizia family filed the application a day after Lia was selected at random to lead the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, the man charged with masterminding the assassination.
Lia, it appears, has no intention of stepping down just, even though her father-in-law’s client Keith Schembri has been implicated by Fenech in the murder.
The family pointed to a separate case were Lia recused herself because she was “slightly acquainted socially with one of the accused”.
Besides being Muscat’s personal lawyer, Pawlu Lia is also the government’s representative on the Commission For The Administration Of Justice, which is responsible for disciplinary action against the judiciary and lawyers.
He has also been involved in many of the court cases involving the Labour Party and its exponents, most notably facing off against Adrian Delia in his bid to publish a full version of the Egrant Inquiry.
Magistrate Nadine Lia was appointed earlier this year, an appointment which was immediately controversial given her father-in-law’s links to the ruling government. The appointment was contested in court by activist group Repubblika, with the European Court of Justice set to give its opinion on the issue.
The compilation of evidence against Fenech kicks off tomorrow.