Dr Hugh Peralta, representing the family of Matthew Zahra, denied that the police have ever issued information relating Matthew Zahra to the thefts. In a letter to the Maltastar.com editor, Dr Peralta insisted that Matthew Vella was never found guilty of criminal acts related to the alleged theft of jewellery, and therefore the article tantamounts to defamation.
This is Maltastar.com's original article:
Police sources have told maltastar.com that 27 year old Matthew Zahra who has been reported missing since 15 August 2012, might actually have left the island because of his alleged involvement in thefts from gold and jewellery shops in recent years.
Three weeks ago the police issued a statement saying that Zahra was last seen in Valletta and Marsaxlokk. He left his residence in Valletta on Wednesday 15 August and his car was found on the following day in Marsaxlokk.
When a missing person is not found after a few days the police issue another statement calling on the public to co-operate with them and to give them any information on the missing person.
In the case of Zahra no other statement has been issued.
Police sources told maltatstar.com that they are following leads that show an organized network of persons from Valletta, some of them involved in the gold trading business, who are implicated in gold and jewellery robberies.
Some of the persons involved boast that they enjoy political protection, making police investigations more complicated and difficult.