Nineteen murders committed in Malta over the last 10 years remain unsolved, new parliamentary figures have revealed.
Following a parliamentary question from MP Ivan Bartolo, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri revealed that since the start of 2011 there have been 58 murders, 19 of which remain unsolved.
It should be noted that just because a murder has been ’solved’, it does not mean that the accused has been found guilty. While police do not give a specific definition to these terms, a case is considered solved once somebody has been charged in court.
For example, the murders of Chris Pandolfinoo and Ivor Maciejowski, will be considered solved by police given the arrest and charge of three men in connection to the homicide.
It is unclear whether the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been considered solved, despite the arrests of Yorgen Fenech, Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat. Investigations into the murder remain ongoing.
Malta’s infamous court delays play a signficant part in the lack of ’solved cases’ transforming into guilty verdicts. Between 2008 and 2018, 35 out of 70 murders were ‘solved’, but only seven people had been found guilty of homicide during the same period.
Delays in Malta’s courts is a major issue plaguing the country. While figures for the length of criminal cases is not immediately available, a 2020 EU study of Malta’s courts found that its delays are some of the longest in Europe.
It takes an average of 2,250 days to resolve a money laundering case, 1,100 days to resolve a civil suit if it goes to appeal, and 1,000 days for administrative matters. In each instance, Malta tops the list by some margin.
Most recently, Andrew Mangion, the man charged with murdering his estranged partner Eleanor Mangion Walker in 2016, was let out bail for a violent robbery he committed while out on bail for the murder. He is yet to be found guilty of the murder.
Delays should not be a major surprise, with lawyers regularly deferring cases and creating significant backlogs in Malta’s courts. Meanwhile, human resources remain worryingly low with Malta having some of the lowest number of judges per 100,000 inhabitants, despite having one of the largest number of lawyers per 100,000 inhabitants.
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