In an unexpected move on Wednesday, Vince Muscat, one of the three alleged hitmen in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination, withdrew his appeal against a rejection made by the Court, on objections he had raised.
Muscat, together with the other two alleged hitmen – brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio – had submitted some 118 objections to the Court, which were turned down last October. The three then appealed the Court’s rejection, but Muscat has now surprisingly withdrawn his appeal.
Observers and reporters who are following the case closely are noting how this could signify that Muscat, also known as il-Koħħu, is dropping the challenge against prosecutors which could indicate the formation of a plea bargain of sorts with authorities.
The appeal is also being regarded as a potential turning point in the case as it may see Muscat providing and/or verifying information that could impact the ongoing compilation of evidence against both the Degiorgio brothers and prime murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.
Muscat and the Degiorgios were charged in December 2017 with planting and detonating the bomb that killed the journalist. The three are still awaiting trial more than three years later.
In July, Muscat filed a judicial protest against Prime Minister Robert Abela, accusing the government of intentionally delaying his request for a presidential pardon, adding that the lag served to grant immunity to specific individuals.
Just over a month ago, the Cabinet rejected a pardon request from Muscat, who had argued that he had provided crucial information to investigators, which ultimately led to the arrest and charge of middleman Melvin Theuma. Local media reports had also revealed that Muscat had told the police the names of the persons who had supplied the bomb – Robert Agius and Jamie Vella.
In October, the press revealed that Agius and Vella had approached a relative of Muscat in 2019, allegedly offered the family €1,500 a month in hush money.