Bernice Cassar murder: police arrest husband after 17-hour standoff / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 23 November 2022

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Elderly couple injured in Mqabba house blaze

An elderly couple suffered smoke inhalation and two cars were damaged in a blaze which started inside a house in Mqabba early on Wednesday. The police said they were alerted before sunrise to a blaze in a house in Carmel Street. Firefighters and a medical team rushed to the scene. A 76-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman who had been in the building, were hospitalised for treatment for smoke inhalation. The woman was found to be in a serious condition. The condition of the man is still being assessed. (Times of Malta)

NCW urges government for decisive action on domestic violence

​The National Council of Women has urged the government to act decisively to change the situation so that domestic violence victims do not have to wait months or even years to have their cases heard in court. “Let us not keep talking and issuing press releases, action today will save a life tomorrow,” the NCW said, while condemning any violence, be it physical, psychological or verbal. In Parliament, PN MP Karol Aquilina said that there are 1,429 domestic violence cases awaiting court hearings. Aquilina proposed that while there are open judicial seats, the court assigns a judge just for such cases. (Maltatoday)

Amendments open door for abortion

The amendment put forward by government to allow the termination of pregnancies when a pregnant woman’s life is at serious risk “opens the door for legal abortion,” a group of experts in medicine, science, social and family policy, philosophy, ethics, psychology and law warned. This comes after health minister Chris Fearne tabled a bill in parliament to allow medical professionals to terminate pregnancy in case of “grave” medical complications. (Newsbook)

Morning Briefing

Bernice Cassar’s husband arrested after 17-hour standoff

Roderick Cassar, 41, husband of Bernice Cassar, the woman shot dead in Kordin yesterday, after a long stand-off with police. The man had barricaded himself in his home. The Times of Malta reports that armed officers wearing protective clothing blasted their way into the house at 2.30am while firing a number of flash blanks. The gun allegedly used in the murder was also recovered.  

Yesterday evening, the police had confirmed that Bernice Cassar’s husband is the prime suspect in her murder. Police commissioner Angelo Gafà confirmed during a crime conference that investigators believe Cassar’s husband killed her and then returned to his home in Qrendi. The mother-of-two had filed five separate police reports against her husband this year alone, with the most recent one having been filed on Monday morning – the day before she was shot dead in Paola. (Times of Malta / TVM)

NGOs claim system failure after Bernice Cassar murder

The Women’s Rights Foundation said that the murder clearly showed that the country has a wider problem of male violence against women. Lara Dimitrijevic referred to the multiple domestic violence reports Cassar had filed with the police, insisting how the system continues to fail women like Bernice. “No matter how we look at it, we cannot justify it. We must address attitudes of ‘If I can’t have you, no one can’; we must tackle the procedures and gender stereotyping that is prevalent across the board, from our culture to our institutions,” Dimitrijevic said, adding the country was patching things up without working on the root cause. Moviment Graffitti said the police must offer continuous training to its front liners and officers across the hierarchy. “Training is needed on what the law says as well as to change harmful attitudes and behaviours that persist.” (Maltatoday)

48 Maltese kids receiving treatment in London

48 Maltese patients are currently being treated in various specialised hospitals in London. President of Malta George Vella and Mrs Miriam Vella visited some of the Maltese patients and had meetings with professionals following the cases of these patients. President Vella said that the main objective of this visit is to be close to the patients and their families at such a difficult moment in their lives. This year, 76 children from Malta were admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Four children are currently being treated there, the youngest of whom is a baby a few months old. Meanwhile, since January, 67 patients from Malta have gone to Sutton for treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

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