The Malta Independent 21 January 2020, Tuesday

Keith Schembri did not request police permission to travel, was not required to

Rebekah Cilia Monday, 30 December 2019, 07:33 Last update: about 22 days ago

Keith Schembri, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s former chief of staff, did not request police permission to travel, but was not required to do so, sources have told The Malta Independent.

Last week, reports emerged that Schembri, who is being investigated in relation to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was travelling with his family abroad for a “getaway”. It was also erroneously reported that Schembri received permission from the police for this holiday.

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Schembri was, for a time last month, held under arrest in connection with the murder case and interrogated. After 48 hours, however, he was released on police bail and, since then, bail has not been renewed.

In a court, Inspector Keith Arnaud said that Schembri, however, is still under investigation.

The original report relating to Schembri’s travels and request to the police, was made by the Times of Malta, which subsequently amended its article, saying that “a previous version of this article had erroneously stated that Mr Schembri had been granted permission to travel abroad by the police.”

The report now states the police had been contacted by Schembri’s legal team, who informed the corps that the former chief of staff was planning a trip to Italy. It also states that Schembri was seen on Thursday evening at the VIP lounge of Malta International Airport.

The PN, as well as MEP David Casa, attacked the police and police commissioner for having given Schembri permission to travel, even asking for the commissioner’s resignation. It transpires, however, that the law does not provide for any restrictions on Schembri’s movements, since he is not under arrest or under police bail at the moment, sources said.

The law is clear that if a person is still under police bail, he or she would need to request permission from the police to travel. Should someone on police bail not have permission to travel, but is caught doing so, this amounts to a contravention of the law.

While many have expressed their concern about Schembri’s overseas travels, considering he is under investigation, sources have said that legally, he cannot be stopped from travelling.

Testifying in court, Arnaud had said that Schembri had claimed to have lost his phone and that police have so far been unable to locate it. Schembri also refused to give police passwords to his email accounts and iCloud because they contained ‘sensitive government information’.


 

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