The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Compilation of evidence against Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspects continues

Friday, 15 February 2019, 12:46 Last update: about 4 months ago

The compilation of evidence surrounding the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is continuing today.

Te Degiorgio brothers - Alfred and George - are charged, along with Vince Muscat, with the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on 16 October 2017.

A technical expert presented a 1,000 page report on vodafone data related to the case to the courts. The three suspects in the murder had objected to IT expert Martin Bajada testifying, however their request was rejected by another court.

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While William Cuschieri, Alfred Degiorgio's lawyer, objected, Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit says she had not received any court order to suspend Bajada's testimony. The court decided, during the hearing, to send a damaged memory card abroad to the UK or Germany for expert analysis, as Bajada said it could be risky to retrieve the data and could lead to the permanent loss of the data if unsuccessful.

Gordon Cutajar, assistant registrar of Merchant Shipping Directorate also took the stand. He said that from the information the directorate has, there are four other Martinique yachts like the Maya (George Degiorgio's yacht, from where it is believed he detonated the bomb that killed the journalist).

He said that there were no vessels of the exact same model - Martinique 2800 - up until 2017, however does say that there are four other models registered, and passed on their details and dimensions to the court.

The file of a constitutional case filed by the accused to prevent Bajada (the first expert) from testifying was then delivered to the magistrate. The court told  the lawyers that what they should have done is file an application, to which Cuschieri responds that there is no need and that he can present it with a note. Philip Galea Farrugia from the Attorney General's office then said that all case law says that the court should not stop given that it is not deciding the merits of the case.

"These are sui generis proceedings, you can't compare it to a debt case, where a constitutional reference halts the proceedings, Dr Cuschieri," the court tells the lawyer.

Cuschieri asked the court not to allow Bajada to testify. Galea Farrugia from the AG's office points out that "this court is a court of criminal inquiry not judicature and should proceed with the collection of evidence in this case with expedience and independently of every other case, particularly this case where no constitutional reference was made." Lawyer Martin Fenech, appearing for Vince Muscat, argued that witnesses that are "illegal" cannot be produced before the court. The accused argued that Bajada should not be allowed to testify because he had been convicted of fraud and theft back in 1993. The court then said that it will decree in chambers about the issue

A police Sergeant then took the stand and testified about the other four vessels previously mentioned. He had spoken to the owners of those vessels. One vessel, he says, was ashore and being repaired. The owner bought it from Libya where it had been damaged and he was fixing it in his garage. A second vessel belongs to someone who does not live in Malta and it rarely left the pontoon over the past 10 years.The third vessel was in a Mellieha field, but was in the water last summer. The owner of this boat said it was not in the water in October 2017. The last boat was in a garage in Gozo at the time according to the owner.

 

 

 


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