Double Murder: Court criticises Attorney General for mismanagement; The AG’s Office answers

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Court of Magistrates made a complaint about the handling of cases by the Attorney General’s Office, after the documents pertaining to the double murder in Ħal Għaxaq arrived in court on the same morning of the hearing.

The complaint made by the Magistrate Joe Mifsud, who is in charge of the prosecution’s case against Joseph Bonnici, accused of killing his mother Mary Lourdes and sister Angele last March.

The Prosecution was not able to call a number of people to testify since the documents arrived in court at 9.00 am this morning. The magistrate said the delay, “raises serious questions about the handling of cases by the AG’s office.”

The court ordered that the AG Peter Grech and the Minister for Justice Owen Bonnici be given a copy of this complaint.

In the meantime, the AG’s Office issued a statement signed by the Acting Attorney General, Philip Galea Farrugia, saying that while the Office will formally respond to this allegation, he feels that at this stage he should clarify a number of facts.

Galea Farrugia said that the Office received the record of the proceedings for the first time on the 29th April. After extending the deadline issued by the Criminal Court on request of the Office, the same office had until the 12th June to examine the records and act accordingly.

According to the statement, although they had until the 12th June, they sent the documents to the Court today so as not to ‘waste’ a session.

The Office of the AG said that therefore, it was absolutely not responsible for any mismanagement or delays in the proceedings.

The mallet allegedly used for the murders presented in Court

Forensic expert Marisa Cassar presented the mallet allegedly used by the accused after he shot the victims. Although it was not visible because it was inside a white paper bag, the weapon seemed to have a long handle. Cassar said that she compared the DNA samples on the mallet with the DNA profile of the alleged killer and his two victims.

Footage from the security cameras

IT expert Martin Bajada -who was given the role to download and analyse the footage of security cameras in various locations related to the murders – also testified.

One of the videos, from the office where one of the victims, Angele Bonnici, worked, shows her brother Joseph going to the office on the day of the murder to see if she had gone to work.

Another video from the house where the crime took place showed the mother and daughter in the house just before the murders. Bajada explained that they last seen on the 26th March between 8.54 pm and 9.10 pm. He said that there was no footage between 9.23 pm and 10.04 pm. Another video from waste plant Wasteserv shows the accused’s car on site for about four or five minutes.

Bonnici’s girlfriend ended up homeless

Reference was also made to the request of the accused’s girlfriend, whom, after the murder, had had to leave the home she had shared with her partner for the past 10 years. The Court was informed that the woman was offered a place to stay with her friends, but she was asking the court’s authorisation to take her things from the house in Ħal Għaxaq.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.