The Corradino Correctional Facility director Chris Siegersma has skirted questions on the decision to grant Daphne Caruana Galizia murderer George Degiorgio prison leave to attend a baptism party.
Siegersma and the home affairs ministry are refusing to engage with the press on numerous requests for answers that can clarify the circumstances in which Degiorgio – whose own billed him as ‘the head of the Maltese mafia’ on his social media channels – was granted prison leave so soon since he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Malta was enraged when images uploaded online showed 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 attended a party at Giardini Villambrosa.
Degiorgio’s lawyers Leslie Cuschieri and Noel Bianco filed an application on 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 any objection.
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.
Questioned on which criteria was Degiorgio’s prison leave approved, newly appointed CCF director Chris Siegersma refused to detail whether it was him, or his predecessor Robert Brincau who made the decision. “As it is in the public domain, in the case you are referring to there was a clear direction by the court,” the reply read.
Photos uploaded to social media showed the convicted hitman with an alcoholic drink in his hand. Asked whether inmates out on prison leave were allowed to consume alcohol, as is clearly depicted in the photos featuring George Degiorgio, and whether he was disciplined, the director did not answer the questions.
According to the prison regulations, a prisoner shall be guilty of an offence against discipline if they abuse of drugs and drink alcohol.
“Security protocols are always followed and searches are done upon re-entry according to established protocols,” was the prison director’s answer.
Questions on the security detail which escorted the career criminal were left unanswered.