Former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar has been called to take the stand in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder trial – by the defence team of the man accused of conspiring to kill her.

Yorgen Fenech’s legal team have made the rare and unexpected move of asking to cross-examine three witnesses before the prosecution has presented all its evidence in the compilation proceedings.

As well as Cutajar, who has not yet appeared in court in the murder case, defence lawyers will also grill self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma and lead prosecuting officer Inspector Keith Arnaud.

The defence applied a procedure that is related to the re-examination of witnesses or examination of new witnesses upon a demand by the Attorney General.

The AG will now summon these witnesses to be cross-examined.

An application was filed last week by the legal team assisting the business tycoon, accused of conspiring to kill the journalist in a car bomb plot outside her Bidnija home on October 16, 2017.

Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja, upheld their application, and a date will now be scheduled for them to face questioning by Fenech’s lawyers.

The next hearing in the compilation of evidence is scheduled for July 30.

In their application, lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran, Marion Camilleri and Charles Mercieca requested authorisation to cross-examine Theuma, who has testified at length about events leading up to the assassination, what followed after, and his arrest in a money-laundering probe last November.

Names of high-profile police figures emerged during Theuma’s explanation of secretly recorded conversations between him and Fenech.

Cutajar was named as having allegedly tipped off Theuma about ongoing murder investigations. He even allegedly tried to locate the secret tapes by picking the brains of a common acquaintance, Edgar Brincat, il-Ġojja.

When testifying during the compilation, one of Fenech’s business associates, Johann Cremona, said that Theuma had been tipped off by Cutajar that he was being investigated over money laundering.

Cutajar is currently under criminal investigation over the claims.

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