The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

Schembri phone that is subject to inquiry not same device he had ‘lost’ – police chief

Monday, 13 September 2021, 17:50 Last update: about 6 days ago

A phone belonging to Keith Schembri that is subject to an ongoing magisterial inquiry is not the same device the former OPM chief of staff had ‘lost’, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa told a court on Monday.

The police chief said the ongoing inquiry is secret and confidential in terms of law.

Suspected Daphne Caruana Galizia murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech had launched a court case in a bid to have the lead investigator, Keith Arnaud, dismissed from the investigation.

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As part of that case, Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff had ordered that phone data be divulged to the court. It was originally believed that the phone was the same one Schembri had famously told officers he had lost in 2020.

Commissioner Gafa explained on Monday that, as per the provisions of the Criminal Code, the contents of ongoing magisterial inquiries cannot be divulged.

He explained that, the the proces verbal or any documents forming part of that inquiry can only be exhibited and copies issued at the sole discretion of the Attorney General once the records were deposited in the court registry. Fenech cannot bypass that rule, he said, asking the court to revoke its decree ordering that information about the device is divulged in the present proceedings.

In August, Fenech’s lawyers said data extracted by investigators from Schembri’s phone was essential to their client’s case. They requested that the said data is exhibited by the police.

But the Police Commissioner told the court on Monday what Fenech’s claim was an “attempted fishing expedition” that was only aimed at prolonging the court case.

The Judge noted that Keith Schembri’s phone has often featured in testimonies. Some witnesses had said the device had been lost and could not be traced. The Police Commissioner was asked to declare what data the police have in hand, how and when they obtained it and what time frame the data relates to.

On the other hand, the judge told Fenech’s lawyers to specify what exact proof they are after and how such information is relevant to their client’s case.

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