The Malta Independent 15 April 2021, Thursday

Fenech lawyers to be given copy of Times journalist's police statement on alleged bribery incident

Wednesday, 17 February 2021, 14:55 Last update: about 3 months ago

A court has decreed that a copy of a declaration made to the police by a Times of Malta journalist is to be given to two lawyers accused of attempting to bribe him.

Journalist Ivan Martin had been spoken to by the police in connection with a conversation in which Martin claims to have been offered “between two and four €500 notes” by Yorgen Fenech’s defence lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran in a meeting he had with Caruana Curran and lawyer Charles Mercieca.

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In an eight-page decree, quoting European case law as well as EU directives on the right to information during the criminal justice process, Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras said that the court “could not see how this access could seriously threaten the life or fundamental rights” of the journalist in question.

In a previous sitting, the court had heard Martin testify how he had received a WhatsApp message from Mercieca asking to meet at Merceica’s office in Old Bakery Street. During that meeting Caruana Curran, Mercieca and Martin had discussed running a series of stories in a “sort of campaign” aimed at undermining the credibility of turncoat witness Melvin Theuma.

Theuma, the self-confessed middleman in the plot to assassinate journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, had been given a Presidential Pardon to testify against Yorgen Fenech.

The lawyers’ defence counsel, Giannella de Marco and Stephen Tonna Lowell, had insisted that they needed to see Martin’s police statement in order to conduct his cross-examination.

As the case began this morning, before a number of technical witnesses testified, the magistrate decreed an application filed by the defendants on 8 February, upholding their request for a copy of the statement issued by Ivan Martin to the police.

The case continues on 24 February.

Superintendent James Grech and Inspector Anthony Scerri are prosecuting.

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