Yorgen Fenech was back in court on Tuesday morning, before Daphne Caruana Galizia's grieving parents made an appearance before a public inquiry.

Meanwhile, Labour leadership candidate Robert Abela accused protesters of provocation and the prime minister has said he is biding his time before speaking about his relationship with Keith Schembri. 

Follow events with our live blog. Refresh the page for the latest updates.  

As it happened

That's all for today 

5pm The day's major events are over, bar major surprises. We're closing this live blog off for the day.

We'll have a full article detailing events during today's session from the public inquiry online shortly. 

Thank you for joining us, we'll be back tomorrow to keep you updated throughout the start of Yorgen Fenech's compilation of evidence. 

Inquiry adjourned

4.45pm Ms Mallia has finished testifying and the inquiry has been adjourned to December 27. 

Daphne's sons Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia will testify on that day. Their brother Matthew already appeared before the inquiry last week.

Black bin day at Castille

4.35pm The cleaners at the Office of the Prime Minister have had quite a busy day, judging by the veritable heap of black rubbish bags dumped outside a side door. 

Just one problem, though. According to Wasteserv schedules, mixed waste (black bags) collection is next due on Thursday.

'Boom, boom, boom... Joseph king'

4.30pm Mandy Mallia says she had been informed that some Mater Dei Hospital staff members cheered when they were informed Daphne had been killed in a car bomb. 

"People employed by state to save life actually celebrated my sister’s horrific murder," she says.

She adds: at the scene of the crime, she recalls strangers going by shouting “Boom, boom, boom... Joseph King.”

'I was shocked, not surprised'

4.20pm Mandy Mallia, the journalist's other sister, says Daphne knew she was treading dangerous grounds. 

"At a happy family meeting I once told her 'Daph, stop writing. It’s not worth it.'

"I had long felt that her life was in danger, not least after arson attacks. When I got the call on that fateful day, I was shocked but not surprised. When I heard an explosion at night, I would check her blog to make sure she was OK. That was my way of checking on her."

Both sisters speak how two particular sites - Tasteyourownmedicine.com and Glenn Bedingfield's blog - were set up to vilify Daphne Caruana Galizia. 

Bedingfield's vilification and dehumanisation of Daphne during his office hours in public employment were quite incredible, Ms Mallia says.

Daphne's last words to sister

4.10pm Helene Asciak quotes her sister's last words uploaded in her blog post: "There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate."

She says that while those are the final words of Daphne's which many people recall, she will always remember last words Daphne told her when she dropped her off home on October 14, in the same car she was killed inside, two days later.

Ms Asciak is emotional as she reads her sister’s writings, saying how she was subject to harassment in every possible way.

Helene Asciak with her sister Daphne Caruana Galizia.Helene Asciak with her sister Daphne Caruana Galizia.

She recalls how after her bank accounts were frozen, Daphne had been called in by police accused of harassing former EU Commissioner John Dalli.

'They dumped her picture in the bin'

4.05pm Daphne Caruana Galizia's niece Megan Mallia is testifying: she recalls another incident when a stranger tried to wrestle a photo of her aunt from her grandfather's hands.

"They were putting it at the foot of her memorial. The man snatched the picture and dumped it in the bin," she says.

Since the assassination, the family has not had time to grieve.

"We are constantly facing comments. Some are kinder, calling me names like 'bitch'. This is the same atmosphere that allowed her vilification."

Azeri NGO speaks out

3.55pm An Azeri organisation called AND (Democracy for Azerbaijan) has just issued a statement, saying it did not identify with the actions of their president. 

It said Malta was a victim of Ilham Aliyev’s financial crimes, committed in Azerbaijan on a much larger scale than Malta.

Azeris, they said, were suffering from the authoritarian regime and the terrible corruption created by the Aliyev family.

Victim's niece testifies

3.50pm Amy Mallia, Daphne Caruana Galizia's niece, is next to testify. She recalls a rumour that her grandfather had a secret family in Sicily, and how one day a stranger once took out his laptop to take photo of her aunt. 

"I was once with her walking her dog. Strangers said I was her illegitimate daughter.

Ms Mallia speaks about Keith Schembri's right-hand man, Neville Gafa, who uploaded photos of her aunt shortly before she was murdered.

"Daphne was and still is until today a target of hate and threats."

Soldiers given bail 

3.30pm In other news, two soldiers who stand accused of killing a man "because he was black" have been given bail. 

Lassana Cisse's drive-by killing had shocked the nation last April. All civilian witnesses in the case are believed to have already testified, with the court therefore agreeing to be released from preventative custody. 

What to expect in court this week

3.05pm Two big sessions in this week's court calendar.

Wednesday: the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech as an accomplice in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia begins.

That case will be presided by magistrate Rachel Montebello and is expected to begin at 12.30pm. We still do not know who will be testifying. 

Thursday: self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma take the witness stand for the second time, in the compilation of evidence against the three men accused of planting and detonating the bomb that killed Daphne.

Theuma is expected to tell magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit about recordings he made implicating Fenech in the murder. 

Here's what Theuma told the court in his first testimony last week.

Melvin Theuma (right) leaves court following his first testimony last week. Photo: Chris Sant FournierMelvin Theuma (right) leaves court following his first testimony last week. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Three things we learned from today's inquiry hearing 

2.50pm The inquiry is still in session, though we're not allowed to look or listen. Here are three things we learnt from the 30 minutes that were open to the public: 

1. Chris Cardona's phone data from his January 2017 trip to Germany could be made public. The data formed part of a libel suit which the minister had filed against Daphne Caruana Galizia after she claimed that he had visited a German brothel. The inquiry has now ordered that the data be introduced as evidence.

2. Threats against Daphne escalated after the 2016 Panama Papers. She always had to contend with public disdain and aggression, but her father recounted how the threats grew into SLAPP suits that could cripple her. 

3. Daphne's family was also dehumanised. Her mother recalled how, as she was recovering from a stroke, a medical officer attending to her had told her, out of the blue, "it's probably because of Daphne".  

Sons and parents of Daphne Caruana Galizia exit court last week.Sons and parents of Daphne Caruana Galizia exit court last week.

Inquiry to continue in private

2.36pm The inquiry will now continue behind closed doors, as the mysterious person who "works in the media" will now be testifying. 

If you've just joined - lawyers for the Caruana Galizias have been approached by a media personality who says they have information about the case. 

The inquiry has agreed to hear their testimony, but the person's identity and testimony will remain private. 

'My daughter would still be alive'

2.33pm Mr Vella's voice breaks. 

"Had the authorities taken action, my daughter would still be alive today," he says. 

That's the end of his testimony. 

Mr and Mrs Vella take a seat in the courtroom, holding hands. 

PN's woes made Daphne a bigger target

2.29pm With the Nationalist Party in disarray, Daphne was in even greater danger, her father says. 

People were blaming her on social media for the PN's electoral defeat. The new PN leader, Adrian Delia, was filing libel suits against her. 

"The state failed to act on reports of corruption. It took no action to ensure her safety," he says. 

Threats escalated after Panama Papers

2.26pm Mr Vella notes that threats against his daughter escalated after police commissioner John Rizzo moved on, and then intensified again once the Panama Papers were published in 2016. 

He notes emails which his daughter had published and which showed how Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had no problem with her being hit with vexatious lawsuits.

"Her only support was her wide readership," he says. 

Daphne's father testifies

2.24pm It is Michael Vella's turn to take the oath and testify. 

"My daughter had a strong sense of duty," he begins. "She had come to know of corruption in government. She was threatened to stop her from keeping government under scrutiny". 

Successive Labour governments had become known for being repressive towards the media, he says. 

Tears in court

2.21pm Rose Vella tells the inquiry she would worry whenever her daughter visited them late in the day.

"I was afraid she would be accosted on the way back," she says. 

Her voice falters as she recalls how Daphne had appeared especially pensive one day, having forgotten her birthday gift at home.

Ms Vella recalls how her daughter told her she would return with her birthday present. She would be killed just 40 hours later. 

'It's probably because of Daphne'

2.20pm A horrific memory by Daphne Caruana Galizia's mother, Rose. 

She tells the inquiry how she had suffered a stroke and was told by the medical officer attending to her that "it's probably because of Daphne". 

"I had no idea he knew we were related," Rose Vella says. 

A daughter, harassed

2.17pm Rose Vella recounts instances of harassment involving her daughter. She recalls how one time she and Daphne  were driving when a driver blocked their path and then went on to file a false police report. 

Another time, she was at a coffee shop in Naxxar and her photo appeared on Glenn Bedingfield's blog.

The shop owners later told Daphne that the shop was turned upside down by unknown people who came to search it ['qallbulna kullimkien'].

Daphne's parents testify 

2.15pm Rose and Michael Vella take an oath and then a seat at the witness stand. Rose Vella will be the first to speak. She has a written statement which she will be reading out. 

A change of plan 

2.12pm The board of inquiry has agreed to hear the testimony of somebody who "works in the media" and has told the Caruana Galizia family they have important information about the case.

The catch: their identity and everything they say must remain secret.  But first, Daphne's parents will testify. 

Media testimony behind closed doors? 

2.05pm Somebody working in the media has approached the Caruana Galizias and said they have valuable information about the case, lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia tells the inquiry. 

They ask for the person to testify in private, given that the witness is in the media. 

The board of inquiry must now rule on this request. 

Cardona phone data to be preserved

2.01pm The inquiry has ordered that phone data related to minister Chris Cardona's (in)famous trip to Germany should be preserved as part of the public inquiry. 

That follows a request by lawyers representing the Caruana Galizia family. The data had been presented as part of a libel suit which was subsequently dropped by both parties. 

Daphne's parents to testify

1.58pm The second session in a public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's assassination is scheduled to begin soon. 

Daphne's parents and sisters are expected to testify today, after her husband Peter and one of her sons, Matthew, were the witnesses during the inquiry's maiden session. 

Daphne Caruana Galizia's parents, Rose and Michael Vella, at a civil society protest held last Sunday. Photo: Jonathan BorgDaphne Caruana Galizia's parents, Rose and Michael Vella, at a civil society protest held last Sunday. Photo: Jonathan Borg

How to share confidential information with us

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We're set up to receive PGP encrypted email and we can also receive anonymous tip-offs through our Secure Drop service using the Tor network. 

For instructions on how to do that and more detailed information, check out our secure tips FAQ.

A third contender for Labour leader? 

1.21pm Chris Fearne and Robert Abela are definitely running. But will Ian Borg be, too? 

Lovin Malta report that the Labour Party is mobilising to have a third contender in the race, and they suggest minister Borg. The idea would be to split Abela's vote and pave the way for Fearne to take top spot. More than half of Labour's MPs have publicly backed Fearne for the job. 

Does Malta's Labour party belong in EU's S&D group?

1.10pm Anna Khakee, a lecturer in democracy at the University of Malta, has written an article in the Brussels-based EU Observer on Labour's position in the EU's Socialist and Democrats group, given the political crisis.

"The question is: at this point in time, does the Maltese Labour party belong in the S&D group? Would a temporary suspension help its sounder elements – and there are many – to gain the upper hand of a party which needs to rethink itself in fundamental ways?" she writes.

Who is telling Joseph Muscat 'barra'?

12.55pm The list is getting longer, that's for sure.

Jessica Arena takes a look at the organisations, politicians and activists who say the prime minister's time is up. Here's her report.

A glum-looking Joseph Muscat enters Castille last week. Photo: AFPA glum-looking Joseph Muscat enters Castille last week. Photo: AFP

'Sue me' 

12.41am Never one for half-measures, writer and Moviment Graffitti activist Wayne Flask is now calling MEP Alex Agius Saliba a liar and challenging him to sue him. 

Agius Saliba was among those who claimed that an activist relieved himself against a wall at Castille yesterday. That claim was debunked by live video of the event. 

The MEP also threw in a few other claims, for good measure - that protesters flung urine at MPs and smashed their cars. 

Flask is now challenging him to substantiate those claims in court. "Until then, I will say that Alex Agius Saliba is a liar," he writes. 

In Brussels this Thursday 

12.13pm The Maltese community in Brussels is planning a protest in the Belgian capital this Thursday, mirroring a similar protest held in London last weekend.

They'll be gathering outside Malta's embassy on Rue Archimede at 12.30pm to demand Joseph Muscat's immediate resignation. 

Can the President act? 

11.51am Legal scholar Kevin Aquilina remains unconvinced by President George Vella's line of argument that he is powerless to intervene during this ongoing political crisis. 

In an opinion piece we've published today, Prof. Aquilina argues that the Head of State has a constitutional duty to act. 

Fully booked 

11.29am While Robert Abela warns protesters to behave, his Labour leadership rival Chris Fearne is busy organising his Christmas shindig. 

It's being held at Charles Polidano's Montekristo Estates and it's fully booked, he tells us on social media. 

Court demands Vitals evaluation report

11.22am A court has ordered the Prime Minister and attorney general to hand over an evaluation board report concerning the hospital privatisation deal struck with Vitals Global Healthcare. 

Konrad Mizzi, who had piloted the deal as minister, had made extensive reference to the report when testifying on November 26. He said that the government had selected VGH following a recommendation by the board. 

Reminder: the privatisation deal is being scrutinised by the National Audit Office and three ministers - Dr Mizzi, Chris Cardona and Edward Scicluna - are facing a magisterial inquiry about it.

'The Maltese Labour Party is a curious creature'

11.02am That's the opening line of an opinion piece published in the EU Observer today. It's written by University of Malta academic Anna Khakee, who asks whether the PL still has a place within the S&D grouping in the European Parliament.

Photo: Jonathan BorgPhoto: Jonathan Borg

Owen Bonnici has no concerns 

10.55am Justice Minister Owen Bonnici says that having Joseph Muscat in office will not taint the ongoing Caruana Galizia murder investigation, as there is an inquiring magistrate "whose job it is to preserve evidence". 

Muscat had to remain at least until January because "the country needs strong leadership," he told our colleagues at Malta Today.

Muscat and questions deferred  

10.45am The prime minister isn't quite ready to talk about Keith Schembri, it seems. Here's a full story about his comments to Jacob Borg earlier this morning. 

Daphne inquiry to continue this afternoon

10.36am The public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's assassination will continue this afternoon. Ms Caruana Galizia's parents are expected to appear before the three-person panel. We're told that some of her sisters might also testify. 

Her husband Peter and son Matthew were the first two people to appear before the inquiry. 

Not sure what the inquiry is about? Read about its terms of reference and the three people appointed to it.

Why did Muscat keep defending Schembri right to the end?

10.32am Jacob Borg asked him that very question as he entered Castille this morning. 

Here's what the prime minister said. 

Joseph Muscat on Tuesday. Video: Matthew Mirabelli

Was Keith Schembri kicked out of Labour? 

10.24am The answer appears to be 'no'. Sources within the PL camp tell us that the party executive met on Monday night, but it was to discuss logistical issues concerning next month's leadership race. 

Robert Abela and 'provocation'

10.17am Robert Abela could barely mask his distaste for protests - he "tolerates" them - in an interview he had on ONE TV on Monday. At this stage, he said, protesters were only out to provoke. 

See what Dr Abela, who is hoping to take over from prime minister Joseph Muscat next month, had to say

Robert Abela.Robert Abela.

MEP Roberta Metsola slammed him. 

More to come 

10.12am That was a rather damp squib of a court sitting, but there's a lot more to come today. 

We'll be keeping this live blog running throughout the day to keep you informed on the latest developments. 

Here's video of Fenech being taken into the courtroom this morning: 


Irked judge 

10.10am Fenech's lawyers say that's all they have prepared for today. Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff is not at all pleased about that - he's devoted the day to this case, he tells them. 

Mr Justice Mintoff orders Fenech's lawyers to present a list of witnesses they intend to summon. 

And with that, the case is adjourned to December 17. 

Unnamed worker's documentation 

10.09am The witness presents documents related to a female worker, whose identity cannot be revealed under court order. We do not know who the worker is. 

Jobsplus representative testifies

10.05am A Jobsplus representative has been called to the witness stand.

Reminder - Fenech has claimed that Schembri got Arnaud's wife a job at Infrastructure Malta. 

The agency had issued a statement when that claim was first made, saying that the person cited got a job through normal channels and was one of two candidates offered the job. One declined the offer, while the other accepted.

Fenech in the courtroom

10.03am Yorgen Fenech is in the courtroom, and he's surrounded by some heavily-armed security guards. 

Peter Caruana Galizia, Daphne's husband, is here too. 

Recap from last week

10.02am Here’s a reminder of what happened in the first hearing last week: 

- Mr Fenech told a court how he and Mr Schembri were childhood friends. 
- Mr Fenech said Mr Schembri was the person to pass him information about the ongoing murder investigation.
- He said Mr Schembri got the information from lead inspector Keith Arnaud.
- Mr Fenech claims Mr Schembri got Mr Arnaud's wife a job. 

Packed courtroom

9.55am The courtroom is packed and there are reporters though there's still no sign of Yorgen Fenech or his lawyers. We're not expecting Mr Fenech himself to testify today, though. Our sources say we should expect more peripheral witnesses to testify.


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