Magistrate Nadine Lia will oversee the compilation of evidence against the Maksar brothers, George Degiorgio, and Jamie Vella over the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Carmel Chircop, even though her father-in-law Pawlu Lia is the personal lawyer of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and other government officials.
Lovin Malta is informed that parte civile lawyers will file a request for Lia to recuse herself from the case.
Lia will be asked to preside over both murder cases, as they are being handled by the courts as one.
Adrian Agius, George Degiorgio, who has already been charged with the Caruana Galizia assassination, and Jamie Vella were charged with carrying out the murder of Carmel Chircop on 8th October 2015. Agius has been charged with heroin possession and trafficking.
His brother, Robert, and Vella have been charged over their complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, in particular how they supplied the explosive which killed her.
Lia has twice been made to recuse herself from cases related to the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination. She was initially assigned to the case against main suspect Yorgen Fenech and the magisterial inquiry into middleman-turned-state-witness Melvin Theuma’s phantom government job.
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.
Lia also represented Muscat’s disgraced former chief of staff Keith Schembri, only dropping him as a client in the wake of his arrest amid a political crisis brought on by Fenech’s arrest.
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 in 2020, 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 ruling on the issue.
The Agius brothers, better known as Tal-Maksar, are believed to be some of the nation’s top criminals. A collaborative report from The Times of Malta and Malta Today previously revealed that their criminal web extends to a series of violent murders between gang members opening up a vacuum for the Agius brothers to become the major players in the smuggling world with ties to Italian, Libyan, Romanian and Albanian organised crime groups.
Caruana Galizia was murdered by a car bomb outside her home on 16th October 2017. Degiorgio, his brother Alfred, and Vince Muscat were arrested and charged with the murder on 5th December. Yorgen Fenech was charged in connection to the murder in November 2019.
Court sittings have revealed that Caruana Galizia murder main suspect Yorgen Fenech once told middleman Melvin Theuma to send a “message to Maksar because that’s where the bomb was made”. Reports also claim that they even offered hush money to one of the men who carried out the murder.
There had been 19 car bombs between 2010 and 2017. With practically all of the victims linked to the criminal underworld, they were often forgotten by the Maltese public while authorities found many dead ends.
Caruana Galizia had written about Adrian Agius in the past, given that he was the business partner of Ryan Schembri – the former owner of More Supermarkets who fled Malta with his family in 2014 to escape loan sharks to whom he had owed millions of euro.
Meanwhile, Chircop was killed after he was shot four times while walking to a garage complex in John Borg Street, Birkirkara in October 2015. CCTV footage showed a light-coloured vehicle driving away from the crime scene. However, the crime remains unsolved.
Vince Muscat, who has pleaded guilty for his role in the Caruana Galizia murder, has been granted a presidential pardon to testify in the Chircop case.
Should Lia recuse herself? Comment below