The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

'I have nothing to say against him', Peter Caruana Galizia says of inspector Arnaud

Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 09:03 Last update: about 14 days ago

Peter Caruana Galizia, husband of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, said the family had nothing against police inspector Keith Arnaud.

He was testuifying before Judge Lawrence Mintoff in the constitutional proceedings filed by Fenech in an attempt to remove lead investigator Police Inspector Keith Arnaud from the murder investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Lawyers Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran are appearing for Fenech, while State Attorney Victoria Buttigieg, assisted by Maurizio Cordina, is opposing the request.

Fenech had filed a constitutional application which described Arnaud’s investigation into Keith Schembri’s possible role in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination as ‘careless, approximative, if not amateurish’.

In separate criminal proceedings, Fenech is being charged with being an accomplice in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Follow minute-by-minute proceedings below

9.38am: That concludes today's sitting - it is adjourned to 6 March at 11:45.

9.37am: Buttigieg states that Abdilla isn't available to testify, noting that this is due to the police traffic officers overtime racket investigation.

9.36am: Caruana Curran asks whether there was any previous contact between Arnaud and the family.  Caruana Galizia states that it was Arnaud who had arrested his wife before the 2013 elections, something which they had found quite funny at the time.  Caruana Curran's line of questioning as to whether Arnaud had come from a district police station - to which Caruana Galizia replied that Arnaud had come from the CID - was stopped by Judge Mintoff, who noted that this was not relevant to the case at hand.

9.29am: Buttigieg asks what relationship the Caruana Galizia family had with Keith Arnaud.  Caruana Galizia replies that it had been Kurt Zahra who had told him that his wife had been killed.  He said that the family had had a number of meetings with Arnaud and Zahra, asking amongst others about our movements in that week.  Arnaud had always accepted meetings, and had even gone to the family's house last October before the arrests. "I have nothing to say against him", Caruana Galizia says of Arnaud.

9.25am: Peter Caruana Galizia has arrived in the courtroom.  Judge Mintoff has now returned and we can continue.

9.19am: Peter Caruana Galizia is summoned to testify next, but he does not show up.  His lawyer Andrew Borg Cardona has popped outside the courtroom to telephone Caruana Galizia, but re-enters to tell the court that Caruana Galizia isn't present yet.  The sitting has been suspended for 15 or so minutes until Caruana Galizia arrives.

9.18am: That concludes Vella's testimony. Some arguments follow over whether Keith Arnaud himself is next, but the defence argues that they would like the tesitmony of others before him.  Judge Mintoff is not convinced, and ultimately it is declared that Fenech's legal team have no questions for Arnaud.

9.15am: Fenech's defence lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran cross-examines Vella. He asks about details from the investigation, to which Vella replies that the investigation into these leaks has been ongoing since towards the end of 2019.  He is not certain however whether this started after Fenech was arrested.

9.13am: State Advocate Victoria Buttigieg is asking the questions at the moment. She asks about the leaks emerging from the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder, to which Vella replies that they are under investigation and are moving forward, although he is not sure at what stage they are.

9.11am: Vella, who works with the Economic Crimes Unit, is asked about Melvin Theuma (the middleman who was offered immunity in exchange of details related to the plot to kill Caruana Galizia), to which he replies that there is a magisterial inquiry and police investigations underway into the state job that Theuma had.

9.10am: Judge Lawrence Mintoff has entered the courtroom.  There is some debate over who is to testify - it seems like it was meant to be Economic Crimes Unit Head Ian Abdilla but the court has been advised that Abdilla was caught up on some work and cannot testify. Inspector Nicholas Vella will be testifying instead.

9.03am: Yorgen Fenech has arrived in the courtroom.

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