The Malta Independent 23 May 2024, Thursday
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Updated: Court provides documentation on police probe into Mark Camilleri’s leaked chats to defence

Friday, 24 March 2023, 15:01 Last update: about 2 years ago

The Criminal Court has provided lawyers defending author Mark Camilleri with documentation relating to the lightning investigation into his alleged breach of a gagging order. 

The investigation was ordered after he published a cache of thousands of messages between Yorgen Fenech, the magnate indicted over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Rosianne Cutajar, a current MP and former parliamentary secretary.

In the application, which was filed on Friday morning, the author’s lawyers David Bonello and Joseph Mizzi explained that although they had requested disclosure of the evidence against their client, the Criminal Court registry had only handed them a copy of yesterday’s decree, upholding the Attorney General’s request that he be prosecuted for contempt of court.

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Together with a copy of the Criminal Court’s original November 2021 decree, which prohibited the publication of evidence exhibited in the murder case, the defence asked the court for a copy of the application filed by Rosianne Cutajar on March 22, the subsequent note submitted by the Attorney General, and the court’s decree concerning those documents, all of which had been issued that same day. 

The lawyers also requested a copy of a note exhibited by the Commissioner of Police on the 22nd or 23rd March.

“The defence needs to have all these documents in order to be able to take the necessary legal steps, as well as to protect [Camilleri’s] fundamental rights and to inquire and take action about how the investigations requested by this honourable Court had been completed by the Commissioner of Police with such speed and zeal, in the space of just a few hours.”

The court upheld the request on Friday afternoon and copies of the documents were subsequently handed to the defence.

The unredacted chats were made public on Tuesday, just 24 hours before Camilleri was due to face Cutajar in court in a libel case the MP had filed against him, in which she had denied having a relationship with Fenech, who is indicted for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. 

The leaked chats appear to indicate, amongst other things, that Cutajar and Fenech had been in an intimate relationship and that Cutajar had received expensive gifts from the Tumas magnate which she had failed to declare.

The day after the chat was leaked, Cutajar’s lawyers wrote to the Attorney General, arguing that the public prosecutor must inform the court and request an investigation into the leaks. The Attorney General obliged without delay and the Court had subsequently ordered the police to investigate Camillleri.  

Acting with unprecedented, blinding speed, the investigation was concluded the next day, with the Police Commissioner informing the judge that the chats had been confirmed to be the same as those exhibited during the criminal proceedings against Fenech and therefore were subject to the November 2021 ban.

In view of this, Madame Justice Edwina Grima had then ordered the Police Commissioner to charge Camilleri with contempt of court.

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