Caruana Galizia murderer given prison leave to celebrate baptism party

George Degiorgio, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was allowed prison leave to celebrate a family baptism after two court decrees overruled the Attorney General's initial objection

Self-confessed murderer George Degiorgio
Self-confessed murderer George Degiorgio

Updated at 6.15pm with court decree details

George Degiorgio, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, was granted permission to attend a family baptism party on Friday night.

Images that were uploaded online show a jolly Degiorgio posing for photos with a drink in hand, surrounded by family members.

The baptism took place at the Basilica of St Paul in Rabat at 5pm and Degiorgio also attended a later party at Giardini Villambrosa.

Lawyers Leslie Cuschieri and Noel Bianco had filed an application on the 16 February for Degiorgio to attend the family event. Although the General Attorney objected, two court decrees eventually granted him permission, after an appeal.

The Criminal Court presided by Judge Edwina Grima agreed to his attendance, subject to him being accompanied by correctional officers the whole time and that he returns to prison at 9pm.

The Court of Criminal Appeals presided by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti, and judges Joseph R. Micallef and Giovanni Grixti did not find an objection as well.

The court argued that ever since Degiorgio was already serving a prison sentence, it could not object to his attendence, subject to the approval, discretion and the conditions of the Director of the Correctional Services Agency.

George Degiorgio, 59, known as iċ-Ċiniż and his brother Alfred Degiorgio, 56, known as il-Fulu, pleaded guilty to the murder of the journalist in a 2017 car bomb.

Recently, a court convicted the Degiorgio brothers on charges of money laundering and recidivism, sentencing them to imprisonment for four years and fining each of them €25,000.

Matthew Caruana Galizia, son of the slain journalist, posted one of the photos with a ‘Mafia Country’ caption.

Degiorgio had first confessed to his role in the murder with Reuters journalist Stephen Grey. He told Grey that he would have asked for €10 million instead of €150,000 in payment to kill the journalist.

He described the hit as “business as usual”, then adding that he feels sorry for the murder.