The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

Former OPM bodyguard Kenneth Camilleri refuses to answer questions on Melvin Theuma

Thursday, 12 August 2021, 15:36 Last update: about 3 months ago

Kenneth Camilleri, a former police officer detailed as a security with then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat refused to answer questions in court on Daphne Caruana Galizia murder middleman Melvin Theuma on Thursday.

The prosecution informed the court that Camilleri was not being investigated about the murder but on events that happened after the assassination.

The witness chose to avail himself of his right not to reply to incriminating question, giving very little information.

Camilleri was cross-examined by the defence but would not say whether he knew pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma and how.

"What did Melvin Theuma ask you in the middle of the night when you played the henchman for Keith Schembri?", Fenech’s defence asked. Camilleri refused to respond.

Asked by defence lawyer Charles Mercieca why he retired from the police force, Camilleri says that he passed his 25-year mark in the service. He says that in November 2019, he was still in the police force and was stationed at the Żurrieq, Birżebbuġa and Żejtun amongst others.

Asked whether any players in the murder saga were close to him, Camilleri responded in the negative.

The court also disallowed a number of questions from the defence, namely on whether Camilleri had testified in the public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s murder, whether he was afraid of anyone, whether he was protecting anyone, and whether he was a henchman for Keith Schembri.

Camilleri was a close friend to former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Theuma had testified in other sittings that after Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, Camilleri had come to visit him to calm him down.

This was a time when Theuma was agitated because one of the murder suspects held in prison – Vince Muscat – started speaking to the police.

Theuma has claimed that it was his understanding that Camilleri was sent by Keith Schembri to calm him down and came with a promise that the three men charged with the murder until then would be given bail and €1 million each.

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew Caruana Galizia was also cross-examined during Thursday’s sitting.

Background

The evidence against Fenech primarily rests on the testimony of Melvin Theuma, who acted as a middleman between the business magnate and the three men who carried out the assassination. Theuma had secretly recorded various conversations between himself, Fenech and others, and was given a presidential pardon to tell all in 2019.

Caruana Galizia was murdered on 16 October 2017, just after leaving her house in Bidnija. A bomb placed inside her car was detonated remotely by an SMS.

One man, Vince Muscat, pleaded guilty to the murder in February this year and was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a plea bargain agreement.

Courtroom players

Magistrate Rachel Montebello is presiding.

Superintendent Keith Arnaud and Inspector Kurt Zahra are prosecuting, aided by Deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia.

Fenech’s defence lawyers are Marion Camilleri, Charles Mercieca and Gianluca Caruana Curran.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family.

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