The Malta Independent 28 May 2018, Monday

Lawyer of man accused of journalist’s murder says court expert ‘not beyond reproach’

Thursday, 17 May 2018, 16:12 Last update: about 10 days ago

Alfred Degiorgio’s lawyer, William Cuschieri, argued today that Martin Bajada, a court expert in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case, was not beyond reproach, and should not have been appointed. He was making arguments in the Constitutional case which the accused filed claiming a breach of fair trial.

Cuschieri last week had filed two separate applications to the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional jurisdiction – one about around Bajada’s suitability on the basis of the fact that he had a criminal record, and the second based on the Caruana Galizia family’s refusal to hand over the journalist’s laptop.

ADVERTISEMENT

Since Bajada worked with the FBI, Degorgio, and now also the other two accused, is insisting that their testimony, due to be heard next week, should be put off until the constitutional issue is resolved.

“The case against Alfred Degiorgio is uniquely based on cell data records and cell tower dumps,” Cuschieri told the court, presided by Judge Lorraine Schembri Orland. “Whenever the various court experts involved in the case made a request, it was always done together with Bajada.”

“Bajada, first alone, and then with the assistance of the FBI, decided what data should be collected, and what the result of its analysis should be,” he highlighted, “Based on the analysis, three people were accused of the murder.”

“The issue with Bajada is that he has a criminal record, and Alfred Degiorgio is arguing that if the expert is not beyond reproach, he should not have been made an expert in the case.”

“If he was deemed to be not beyond reproach in that case, how can he be so in the [more serious] case of a murder trial?” Cuschieri asked, “If there is some doubt, we should be prudent – better safe than sorry.”

“If the investigation is to be fool-proof, it has to be so in every aspect,” he stressed, “Bajada should not have been appointed, should not still be in the case, and should not have communicated with other experts.”

“It was on the basis of the evidence gathered by Bajada that the case against Degiorgio was made,” Cuschieri said.

Maurizio Cordina, appearing on behalf of the Caruana Galizia family, however, argued that the Bajada argument was a “desperate manoeuvre”.

“The prosecution is duty bound to bring forth the best evidence against the accused,” he argued, insisting that Bajada and the FBI did not in fact work together.

 

The case continues tomorrow.


Caruana Galizia family request to participate in case

The Caruana Galizia family have filed a legal recourse requesting that they be allowed to participate in all stages of the Constitutional case.

This was opposed by Degiorgio, with his lawyer arguing that the family were interested in the outcome of the case – not on its merits – and did therefore not have a right to be present during the entire proceedings.

The court will decide at the next sitting on whether it will uphold the family’s request.

 

  • don't miss