Daphne Caruana Galizia’s laptops are not in the possession of the police and thus not preserved as evidence in the murder inquiry, a court declared on Wednesday.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello issued a decree in response to a request by Yorgen Fenech, through his lawyers, for two laptops and three hard drives used by the journalist at the time she was killed to be produced in evidence.

Fenech has been accused of complicity in the Caruana Galizia murder. He is pleading not guilty. 

Fenech's lawyers had argued that the devices are important not only to prove Fenech’s innocence but also to test the version supplied by the prosecution’s star witness, self-confessed murder plot middleman Melvin Theuma.

In his testimony at the ongoing murder compilation, Theuma said that he had been tasked by Fenech to contract hitmen to “get rid” of the journalist before she could publish material “about his uncle.”

Both the Attorney General as well as the Police Commissioner had filed replies to the lawyers' request, explaining that the electronic devices were effectively not available to be produced in evidence.

In fact, two earlier requests filed by the police themselves to the magistrate conducting the murder inquiry, for the preservation of such evidence, had never been met, observed the magistrate.

This had been through no shortcoming on the part of the police, Magistrate Montebello added.

The court also pointed out that in any case, it only had the power to issue such an order under the provision cited by Fenech’s lawyers, up to the prima facie stage, which had been surpassed.

That was the stage when the court decreed there was sufficient evidenceto commit the accused to trial.

In light of such considerations, Magistrate Montebello said the court could only direct the prosecution to inform the court if such electronic equipment was tracked down or seized by the police.


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