The Malta Independent 20 January 2019, Sunday

Daphne Caruana Galizia murder - Court analyses footage of Degiorgio’s boat

Friday, 11 January 2019, 11:10 Last update: about 8 days ago

The compilation of evidence against three men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia continues today.

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit hears court-appointed experts in their analysis of the footage captured of the sea vessel 'Maya', belonging to one of the accused, Alfred Degiorgio.

13:34 The case has been adjourned until February 15.

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13:04 The tent ensures that the quality of the evidence collected is preserved. These items go to the tent and eventually pass on to the Exhibits Officer. 

13:03 Inspector Casha explains the role of the white tent that was erected at the scene of the crime in Bidnija.  13:03 Scene of the Crime Officer, Charlot Casha explains how evidence was collected. Casha's role is to search for and compile evidence, as well as preserve the objects adequately. 

13:01 Inspector Charlot Casha is next to give testimony. He had been appointed to take DNA mouth swabs of Alfred and George Degiorgio. 

13:00 Officers will testify on collection of evidence and how this was preserved. 

13:00 Court is informed that one of them would not be present since she is currently abroad.

12:59 A team of nine forensic police officers will testify.

12:58 Court resumes

11:33 Court proceedings have adjourned for a lunch break 

11:23 Three experts from the Police Forensic Unit take to the witness stand together. 

11:20 Hughes says that these items must first be photographed, visually examined and eventually tested for fingerprints. 

11:19 Other items presented include a pair of binoculars, a monoscope, which was found in a Ford Transit, and packaging tape. These were taken from a Mosta house.

11:13 Items collected from the crime scene, including car plastic parts bearing fingerprints, are handed over to the court.

11:02 Former police sergeant Jeffrey Hughes another appointed court expert into the murder, takes to the stand. He says he examined plastic parts from the scene of the crime as well as around 11 CDs of material. 

10:52 They visited a number of locations together with a Europol representative and lifted fingerprints and other evidence. The officers presented their report and photographs - 5 volumes in all. 

10:52 Two police officers from the special branch of the Police Forensic Unit are testifying next. 

10:40 Asked whether he could exclude the possibility that the boat was from another flag-state, visiting Malta, the witness said it was highly unlikely as there are flagstate controls which would lead to it being identified. 

10:38 The features of this boat are the same as those of the vessel which is in the possession of the police, replied the witness. “I am 95% sure."  10:37 Lawyer William Cuschieri is asking whether the witness could reach a conclusion as to whether the boat in the footage is the same as Degiorgio’s vessel. 

10:30 Witness is being cross-examined by lawyer Martin Fenech who is asking about details of where the name and model of the boat are visible 

10:08 He added that it was the only model of its kind in Malta.

10:07 The boat, made by American manufacturer Wellcraft was a Martinique 2800. The model of the vessel is not common in Malta, he said. 

10:07 One of the non-standard features of the Maya was a searchlight and a radar arch as well as a green canopy, he said. 

10:06 Another witness: Capt. Reuben Lanfranco, takes the stand. He had been appointed to examine the boat and had taken note of some distinctive markings and features 

10:06 Could he identify any individuals on it? "Yes on one occasion, 11 January, the faces are clearly visible." 

10:06 In cross-examination lawyer WIlliam Cuschieri is asking whether it is the same boat, with the witness replying that they were "very similar"  10:04 Lawyers Peter Caruana Galizia and Eve Borg Costanzi have just walked in. Peter Caruana Galizia is the widower of the victim

10:04 Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit is hearing a court-appointed expert explaining his report on CCTV footage from Transport Malta relating to the sea vessel "Maya". Stills and footage were extracted from the footage and scrutinised image by image he said. 

The key courtroom players:

William Cuschieri and Martha Muscat are appearing for Alfred Degiorgio, known as il-Fulu, 53.

Martin Fenech is appearing for Vince Muscat, known as il-Koħħu, 55.

Josette Sultana is appearing for George Degiorgio, known as iċ-Ċiniz, 55.

Philip Galea Farrugia from the Attorney General's Office and Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are appearing for the prosecution.

Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile.

Who are the accused

  • George Degiorgio 55, unemployed, lives in St Paul’s Bay, known as Ic-Ciniz
  • Alfred Degiorgio, 53, unemployed lives in St Paul’s Bay, known as il-Fulu
  • Vincent Muscat, 55, unemployed lives in Msida, known as il-Kohhu
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