The Malta Independent 29 September 2022, Thursday
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Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers to be indicted in journalist bribery case

Wednesday, 3 March 2021, 12:15 Last update: about 3 years ago

A court has decreed that there is sufficient evidence to place lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca under a bill of indictment over an alleged attempt at bribing a Times of Malta journalist.

Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras made the ruling this morning.

Journalist Ivan Martin had gone to 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.

In a studied decree, quoting a wealth of case law, the court observed that in the case of Caruana Curran, the defence had not contested prima facie and that there was “a case to answer” in his regard.

With regards Mercieca, the defence had argued that there was a total absence of evidence.

The court, however, disagreed, saying he had had a number of meetings with Martin, including one at his office. In addition to this, the replies sent to various media houses after the allegations were made public, spoke in the plural and did not solely refer to Caruana Curran. These led the court to decide that there was also a “case to answer” for Mercieca and that the evidence deserved more investigation.

In a separate decree this morning, the court however, upheld the defence’s objections to the exhibition of the statement which Martin had given to the police. It had been argued that as Martin had testified and was not declared a hostile witness, his statement cannot be exhibited as evidence.

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 case continues on April 7.

Superintendent James Grech and Inspector Anthony Scerri are prosecuting.

Lawyers Giannella De Marco and Stephen Tonna Lowell are defence counsel.

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