Defence lawyers for Yorgen Fenech cross examined witnesses in the compilation of evidence against the businessman. 

Fenech faces charges of conspiring to kill journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb attack in October 2017.

Lead investigator Keith Arnaud and self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma are the main witnesses but there was no time for former police boss Lawrence Cutajar. 

Highlights from Thursday's testimony:

Points from Melvin Theuma's testimony:

  • Yorgen Fenech's defence lawyers say there is another recording which middleman has not testified about;

  • Lawyers ask Theuma to confirm that Il-Ġojja paid €30,000 to the police commissioner to help get a pardon for the middleman. Theuma denies it;

  • Theuma says Keith Schembri never told him to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia;

  • Theuma denies he was aware of the presidential pardon; 

  • Tension in court as lawyers grapple over recordings, procedure.

Points from Inspector Keith Arnaud’s testimony: 

  • The defence want Melvin Theuma’s pardon to be submitted as evidence but the prosecution argues against it because it includes other, unrelated crimes;

  • Arnaud says former police chief Lawrence Cutajar admitted to officers he had met with an associate of Melvin Theuma’s behind their back and the investigating team informed a magistrate;

  • Keith Schembri, who admits he was a friend of Fenech, was at every single meeting police had with former prime minister Joseph Muscat to brief him on the case;

  • He had warned Melvin Theuma that his pardon was conditional on the truth and asked him if he had paid to get a pardon. Theuma denies it.

  • Arnaud says he would like to know how the defence have a copy of a voice recording which others don't have.

'An innocent man is still under arrest'

5.30pm Mercieca asks the court for a date, the closest possible, calling to mind that “an innocent man is still under arrest”.

And after seven and a half hours, the court is adjourned.

The sitting is put off to Wednesday at 9.30am.

We'll be back with the highlights of Thursday's sitting shortly. 

Court rejects request to hear part of recording

5.20pm The court orders that at the next sitting, court expert Alvin Cardona is to testify about such discrepancies in the copies. Court will provide accordingly to ensure that all digital files are presented in these proceedings.

The devices are apparently still held by Europol.

Mercieca points out that the original files are on USBs given by Theuma to the police.

Caruana Curran asks: "Could we at least hear the first part of the recording we have in our possession?"

Arnaud and the AG's office objects.

Court rejects the request saying that it will first hear the court expert to see what he has to say about this. 

Different copies, no copies....

5.15pm Lawyer Mercieca expresses concern that the prosecution has not even considered these recordings.

The court minutes that the voice recording is not found in the copy of the hard drive given to the transcriber. And the prosecution also affirms that it does not have it in its copy of the hard drive. The copies were done by a court expert.

So the hard drive exhibited by the expert contains different digital files and recordings to those in the defence’s copy and the prosecution’s copy.

There are two batches of recordings, those found in Theuma's ice cream box in November and the others found in February.

“We need copies of both,” Mercieca explains.

Arnaud says he would like to know how the defence have a copy of a voice recording which others don’t have.

Magistrate is not amused

5pm The magistrate returns to the chamber.

"So are you saying that this recording is missing? This is not acceptable," she says.

Defence lawyers say that there are discrepancies in the copies.

"I'm being very cautious with my choice of words, at present," defence lawyer Mercieca says.

Galea Farrugia says this is not acceptable for AG either, since the office has an interest to safeguard the integrity of the records.

"I suggest that we ask the court expert to explain and if necessary call for further inquiry," he says.

As we wait...

4.30pm We are six and a half hours into Thursday's testimony but there's some drama in the court room. Yorgen Fenech's defence lawyers are saying there is another recording which middleman Melvin Theuma has not testified about. That's what we are currently waiting to hear.

They have also grilled him about a purported €30,000 paid to the former police commissioner to help secure him a presidential pardon. Theuma has denied it. 

The strategy behind the lawyers' questioning is to force the court to reverse the presidential pardon Theuma was given last November to tell all about Caruana Galizia's murder. 

In the morning, Keith Arnaud confirmed that former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, who admits he was a friend of Fenech, was at every single meeting police had with former prime minister Joseph Muscat to brief him on the case.

Later on Thursday, a vigil in memory of Caruana Galizia will take place next to the makeshift memorial... just across the court house where her murder trial is taking place.

Cutajar told to leave

4.20pm Meanwhile, the magistrate says that the other witness, former police chief Lawrence Cutajar, will not testify today. Defence ask that he is warned not to communicate with Theuma, inspector or any other party on the matter.

Cutajar has been waiting since 9.30am!

That means he will not be answering to the question by the defence team about the €30,000 pardon claim.

Lawrence Cutajar leaving court. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaLawrence Cutajar leaving court. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Was a file deleted?

4.15pm The magistrate is back out. If parties agree, the recording can be accessed via the hard drive given to the transcribers.

Lawyer Mercieca sounds great concern about this. He says that these particular recordings contain “scathing and incontrovertible" proof and that's why the lawyers are so worried.

The magistrate says that she will order a copy, saying that it cannot be the case that a particular file is corrupted.

The defence says that the file seems to have been "deleted" while in court.

“That’s why we are so worried!”

Still waiting for that recording

3.50pm Theuma looks fixedly at his lawyers as they give court officials details of the particular recording to be aired. 

On the other hand, Fenech smiles and puts his hands to his head as he shares a word with his lawyer.

The tension in the court room is palpable.

The recording starts, but Fenech says it's the wrong one.

Theuma is once again told to wait outside.

Mercieca and Caruana Curran are trying to locate the recording on the court laptop, but there’s some problem.

Fenech seems to suggest that they should play it out on the lawyers’ own laptop.

Lawyers trade barbs

3.20pm Fenech's lawyers suggest that Theuma be held until the next sitting. 

Theuma's lawyers interjects and insist it is not fair if the recordings start being played and then Theuma is detained.

Caruana Curran: "We wish to ask questions to Theuma to confront him with these tapes before he can be spoken to by the police or trained by his lawyers."

Theuma's lawyer Kathleen Grima hits back: "We don't train anyone."

Caruana Curran replied: "You have no right to speak here."

Putting an end to the ping pong, the magistrate allows the first tape to be played, solely for the sake of confronting the witnesses with the evidence.

The court makes it clear that if there is anyone in the hall recording the hearing, they will be held for contempt of court with punishment at discretion of the court. That punishment is not subject to appeal.

How many recordings?

3.15pm Magistrate asks Theuma to confirm that he had only recorded Cremona and Yorgen Fenech.

"Yes," he replies.

The magistrate asks him to step out of the room.

"We’ll only have one recording today. You cannot expect to come here and have all this in one sitting," she says.

The lawyers reply: "You’re right and we’re sorry but these tapes emerged recently and took us by surprise too. And we can assure you that even the court will be surprised when you hear them!"

'He is lying'

3.10pm The defence team say that Theuma is to be asked about money allegedly handed over to the former police commissioner in connection with his presidential pardon.

When asked in earlier session, Theuma said that he had recorded Johann Cremona and no one else when in reality he did record someone else.

"His own proof will prove he is lying. Hence it’s in the interest of justice that these tapes are heard today," Caruana Curran tells the court.

'Play a few seconds of the recordings'

2.55pm Caruana Curran explains that they have been waiting for seven months for these particular tapes to be played out and the prosecution have never done so.

"That is all we want. We only want a few seconds of recordings to be played out.

"It’s important for these tapes to be played out today. They were given to police by Theuma himself. We have heard hours of recordings in past sessions. All we ask for is for these few!"

After Caruana Curran's appeal,  the magistrate turns to Galea Farrugia. Is there any objection to that?

"We have no objection to hear these tapes today, but to questions put under cross examination."

The magistrate authorises the playing of the tapes.

Tension in court room

2.50pm There is tension in the court room as the lawyers argue over procedure.

The defence team insist that Theuma had actually answered questions related to the content of these tapes, even though the actual recording was not among those played out in court.

Philip Galea Farrugia from the AG's office says that this is procedurally incorrect and that Theuma cannot be asked questions under cross examination on tapes he had not testified about.

As they continue arguing, magistrate puts her foot down firmly rapping the lawyers. She fines Caruana Curran and Mercieca €50 each for contempt of court.

The lawyers apologise. Caruana Curran says he had retorted angrily to a comment that the defence were putting up a mise en scene. The court takes note of their apology. 

Denies knowledge of pardon

2.40pm Asked if he was aware of the looming police raids, Theuma says he fought right up to the end to get the details but he was not given what had been promised.

Caruana Curran: "So weren't you prepared for the raid?"

Theuma: "I did have the date but not the place of the raids, I was so troubled at the time, I had so much on my mind."

Caruana Curran: "Did you know about the pardon?

Theuma: "Of course not."

Caruana Curran: "What if I tell you that Il-Ġojja paid €30,000 to the police commissioner?"

Theuma: "That's not true."

The defence team requests court to play out a particular recording, already presented as evidence.

This particular recording was not played out in court, the lawyers explain.

“Conveniently the prosecution never played it out!”

In an interview with Times of Malta, Cutajar was asked if he had received any payment for the information he passed on to Melvin Theuma. Cutajar said: "I deny this completely". Asked if the police had spoken to him about this meeting, he said "No...never".

'Keith never told me to kill Daphne'

2.35pm Theuma denies talking to Keith Schembri and insists that even though he often cited his name he could not link him to Caruana Galizia's murder. 

"He never told me to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia."

Theuma says he only met Schembri at Yorgen Fenech's Żebbuġ ranch and then at Castille when he was given a phantom job. 

He is asked if he ever spoke to his partner about Schembri. 

'I don't think so."

Magistrate: "Do you exclude it?"

Theuma: "It could be that I did mention Schembri with my wife in relation to the case but I don’t recall."

The wreckage from the bomb blast. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaThe wreckage from the bomb blast. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Bluffing about Cutajar

2.30pm Theuma tells the court he was troubled by a murder that will forever haunt him. 

"Even if you live for 100 years, that will always burden you, even if you go to Holy Confession and take Holy Communion as I did three weeks ago!"

He is asked about Il-Ġojja's relationship with the former police commissioner. 

He says Brincat once went to Luqa to speak to Lawrence Cutajar about a traffic fine and afterwards he called Theuma.

Cutajar had asked Brincat about the secret recordings.

Brincat warned Theuma that Europol knew about them too.

He repeats that he did not speak to the former police chief.

"But let me say something, I sometimes bluffed about him (żeffintu fin-nofs)," he tells the court, saying he was apologising for doing so.

'I insisted on the pardon'

2.15pm Theuma says he had often considered the potential pardon and plea bargaining in exchange for a potential 20-year jail term he was facing for money laundering.

The middleman says that Edwin Brincat, il-Ġojja, told him that he'd go to prison and never leave.

The lawyers asked if it was the police commissioner who mentioned the possibility.

Theuma hits back: "What? I never met the commissioner."

"I insisted on the pardon. Then there was a statement by government. Then they gave me a paper to sign and that was it."

Melvin Theuma walking to court earlier this year. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina.Melvin Theuma walking to court earlier this year. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina.

The police knock that unravelled everything

2.10pm Caruana Curran asks Theuma who had proposed the pardon after he was arrested last November. 

Theuma replies: "I was arrested by Inspector Nicholas Vella at Marsascala. I told him to call Arnaud because I wanted to talk to him. Later at Arnaud's office, I immediately told him, I want to talk about the Daphne Caruana Galizia case."

He says he had tried to engage different lawyers including Giannella Caruana Curran, Jason Azzopardi, Karol Aquilina and Simon Busuttil. All refused the brief, until lawyer Matthew Brincat took his case on.

Theuma says he had also asked to speak to a magistrate as well as then police chief Lawrence Cutajar.

He says he gave the tapes to the magistrate.

Theuma says he had made up his mind by then that he would tell all on the murder case the minute a police officer knocked at his door. 

Theuma called in

2.05pm Murder middleman Melvin Theuma has been called into the courtroom. He is the next witness to testify. He has been waiting since this morning. 

A short break

1.34pm Inspector Arnaud's evidence has concluded for the day. We'll be back in a few minutes, when we will hear from Melvin Theuma. 

Who was involved in the pardon?

1.28pm Arnaud is asked whether the pardon was granted on the advice of the former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar and the Attorney General Peter Grech. He replies: "As far as I know, yes."

He reiterates that he and Kurt Zahra had prepared a report, as had the Attorney General.

However, he says he can't tell if anyone else was involved. 

He's asked if he told Cutajar about the tapes discovered early this year. Arnaud isn't sure and can't remember if he was still there. [Cutajar resigned shortly after new prime minister Robert Abela took power in January]

On questioning, Arnaud said he did not tell Joseph Muscat about the tapes. He did tell the deputy Attorney General.

Are you sitting comfortably?

1.25 pm The magistrate has just asked how long the cross-examination is to take. She says that, for administrative purposes, the sitting should be over by 3pm.

Lawyers say they doubt it will be concluded by then, but they will try to speed up matters.

Melvin Theuma denied paying for pardon

1.16pm The defence now moves to Melvin Theuma's pardon request, which was accepted. 

Arnaud is asked: "Do you agree that one condition was to tell the whole truth?"

Arnaud: "Yes".

And if he doesn't do so, may the pardon be withdrawn?

Arnaud doesn't directly answer this question, saying that when he spoke to Theuma, he always warned him about the conditions of the pardon. 

What if Melvin Theuma paid to get this pardon?

Arnaud: "It would be withdrawn!" He said that police had asked Melvin Theuma about this and he denied it. "We took that down on record".

Arnaud says he and Zahra had been asked by Cutajar to prepare a report on their views on whether Theuma should be granted a pardon. They drafted and signed it and gave it to Cutajar. 

The pardon was granted after his arrest and after they found the middleman's letter of confession at Fenech's office. The box of tapes had been found.

Vince Muscat's pardon request

1.11pm Arnaud says that when Vince Muscat requested a pardon in exchange for his evidence, it was his first experience of a pardon. Lawrence Cutajar was present at the discussions with the former prime minister on the pardon.

Mercieca probes into the conditions of the pardon but the court puts a firm end to that line of questioning.

Arnaud had gone to the prime minister with the request for the pardon and it was turned down. He says he is not aware of what was discussed in the Office of the Prime Minister regarding the pardon.

Schembri always present for PM meetings

1.01pm For the first time today, the former prime minister's name is brought up. Defence asks Arnaud when he first met with Joseph Muscat, and his then chief of staff, Keith Schembri.  

It was in November 2017, mid to end of month, Arnaud recalls.

He needs to verify the exact date. Former assistant commissioner Silvio Valletta had asked him to go with him because he had all the details on the case.

They had another meeting, before the December arrests of the alleged hitmen, and then again in May 2018. The meeting was with the prime minister but his chief of staff was also there.

Was Keith Schembri always present? 

Arnaud: "Yes".

He also recalls meetings that discussed the pardon request by alleged hitman Vincent Muscat. Theuma's name was initially not raised at these meetings.

Mobiles and €600,000 cash

12.57 pm Arnaud is being asked about middleman Melvin Theuma's arrest. The inspector reminds the court he was not personally there but instructions were to seize all electronic devices. He believes there were three mobiles in the box and another on him.

Some €600,000 in cash was found, as well as at least one laptop.

Lawrence Cutajar would 'come along' 

12.50pm The defence is now raising the presence of Lawrence Cutajar when Melvin Theuma's statements were being taken.

Merceica asks: "Who was present at your office? Was the commissioner there?"

Arnaud says that Cutajar knew Theuma was under arrest and would "come along" but he cannot confirm if the former police commissioner was ever present when statements were taken. 

Arnaud thinks Cutajar was present when Fenech's doctor, Adrian Vella, was giving his statement. And he would have been present during the fortnight in November when most arrests took place, Arnaud says. 

Former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar is currently facing a magisterial inquiry over allegations he tipped off Melvin Theuma ahead of his arrest.Former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar is currently facing a magisterial inquiry over allegations he tipped off Melvin Theuma ahead of his arrest.

'Don't lie to me!'

12.41pm Defence is grilling Arnaud on his chief witness Melvin Theuma. He was arrested seven times and Arnaud first spoke to him on November 14. 

The last time they spoke was this week, on Tuesday, for half an hour. Theuma has always been accompanied by his lawyer. 

Theuma has given around six audio visual statements over a span of two-three weeks in November and again this year. 

Statements in November were taken by Arnaud and fellow investigator Kurt Zahra, or when he wasn't there, someone else from his office.

'Don't lie to me!', defence lawyer Mercieca interjects. The magistrate warns him not to add such comments when putting statements. 

Arnaud explains that some officers had resigned from the corps but that all November statements were taken by either Arnaud or Zahra. After November, he would use "any other subordinate in my office" to take recorded statements if he or Zahra were not at the office.


12.34pm Arnaud is asked about the various relationships between those implicated in the murder probe.

On Fenech's relationship with Keith Schembri:

Arnaud says he wasn't aware of the friendship "as much as was revealed recently in court".

On Edwin Brincat's relationships with former assistant police commissioner Mario Tonna and Melvin Theuma:

Arnaud says they tried to ask Brincat about these relationships but "the trouble was he chose the right to silence."

He cannot say if Edwin Brincat is still being investigated. 

Europol's role

12.30pm Arnaud is asked about the European investigator Europol's role in the murder investigation. Arnaud says there are no officers based in Malta but they "come and go". 

They were present during searches of Fenech's properties but "did not physically search". 

They were not present during searches related to Keith Schembri because they were away from Malta at the time, Arnaud says. 

New tapes found in early 2020

12.23pm Arnaud is asked about the additional tapes of recorded conversations (not those found in Melvin Theuma's box). He says they were found in January or February 2020. 

Theuma had told police after a court session: "Are there more recordings? I'm under the impression that there were more!" That observation prompted police to search for more recordings, Arnaud explains.

He says he hasn't personally listened to all the tapes and he didn't play any to Edwin Brincat. Brincat's mobile was taken when he was under arrest, along with all his electronic devices.

These new tapes are currently at Europol, "abroad", Arnaud says.

Read up on the newly-discovered recordings here.

Edwin Brincat, il-Gojja

12.20pm Arnaud is asked details around one of the prosecution witnesses, Edwin Brincat, known as il-Gojja. 

He says he was initially reluctant to testify. He sent for him two or three days before his testimony on June 15.

Yorgen Fenech's doctor still being investigated

12.17pm Arnaud confirms that Adrian Vella is still under investigation. He is asked if he seized his mobile. No, Arnaud replies. 

Who was played the tapes?

12.12pm Defence is asking to whom police played secretly-recorded tapes of conversations. Arnaud says no tapes were played to Kenneth Camilleri. But they were played three times to Dr Adrian Vella, who was arrested once in November. 

[Adrian Vella was arrested alongside Keith Schembri and was accused of passing notes between Schembri and Fenech while Fenech was on police bail.] 

Keith Schembri, centre, walking into court recently.Keith Schembri, centre, walking into court recently.

Kenneth of OPM

12.06pm Arnaud is asked about Kenneth Camilleri, the former bodyguard of ex-prime minister Joseph Muscat. Previously known as 'Kenneth from OPM', Theuma has accused him of coming to his house and trying to pass on a message to the three hitmen, to tell them they would be bailed and paid a million euro. 

Police spoke to him twice in November 2019 and took his statement, Arnaud says.

The Deputy Attorney General objects to the general line line of questioning as Johann Cremona is not subject of investigations. 

The court takes note of the objection. 

Johann Cremona recordings

11.59am Attention now turns to Johann Cremona, one of Fenech's business associates. 

He had previously told the court that Theuma had been tipped off by Cutajar over money laundering. 

Cremona was spoken to around November last year about six times, Arnaud says. He was at no point under arrest.

The sessions were hours long and involved recordings where Cremona was heard speaking.

"Were these recordings exhibited in court?" Arnaud is asked.

He replies: "No. Only those in the middleman’s box have been exhibited so far. The others were tracked down in other devices. They were found during other searches."

He is asked: "Are they relevant to the case?"

Arnaud: "Eventually they will be."

They are still in possession of the task force investigating the murder, he says.

'Active' investigation regarding Keith Schembri

11.57am Arnaud is asked about investigations into the former chief of staff. Are they still ongoing.

He replies: "Yes, and actively so."

Did you take his mobile?

11.53am Arnaud is asked if he took Keith Schembri's mobile phone. No, is the reply. 

He is not sure if he asked how many mobiles Schembri had. 

He says he searched Schembri's home and a week later, in December, searched his office in Castille. Police seized electronics and his personal laptop.

When did you ask for his mobile?

Arnaud: "While searching for his home on the morning of November 26".

The mobile was not found. Arnaud says police spoke to service providers in the "days after" the first arrest and were given "a detailed report".

He did not speak to Schembri after those occasions. 

Keith Schembri gave three or four statements

11.47am Arnaud is asked how many times he sent for Keith Schembri. 

He names two occasions: Schembri was arrested on November 26 last year and granted police bail the following day. And he was sent for a second time when on police bail.

"We spoke to him more than once under police bail" and took three or four statements from him, Arnaud recalls.

Europol, who have been assisting police in the investigation, were not present.

'Our case pivoted on that box'

11.42am Arnaud says Theuma had a box, which he wanted to open only in the presence of the police commissioner, Cutajar. 

"He didn't want to let go of that box," Arnaud recalls. He said the sergeant who arrested Theuma had told Arnaud about the box. 

Did you know what was inside?

Arnaud: "We assumed. We all believed that our case pivoted upon the tapes and so we assumed what was in that box."

[For background: The box contained secret tape recordings between Fenech and Theuma]

Theuma's arrest

11.39am Questioning turns to Melvin Theuma's arrest, in November last year. Arnaud says he does not know where the arrest took place because he wasn't present. It "could have been around Qormi but I'm not sure," he says.

He first saw Theuma when he was brought to police headquarters. 

Cutajar 'went behind our backs'

11.33am Arnaud says that after police were informed of the meeting, they told the inquiring magistrate. He's unsure of the date but says Cutajar himself spoke to the magistrate in June 2019. 

That was when Cutajar told police that he had gone behind their backs to Brincat. 

Arnaud, the lead investigator in the Caruana Galizia case is asked: "Did you send for Cutajar to investigate him?"

Arnaud: "I was not ordered to investigate Cutajar."

He is pressed about who is investigating Cutjar now and whether he has been left out.

"It's not a question of being left out. I don't have the info as to which officer is investigating him."

Cutajar's meeting with an associate of a murder middleman

11.22am We're back. Arnaud is now being asked about his former boss, ex-police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar. Cutajar is under investigation after a previous sitting heard allegations Cutajar had given information to middleman Melvin Theuma over ongoing money laundering investigations.

Arnaud is asked if he knew about meetings between Cutajar and Edwin Brincat, a close associate of Theuma's. 

Arnaud says: "We didn't know, but when we got to know, we spoke between us."

What did you do next, he is asked.

Arnaud: "We were not 100 per cent sure that the meeting actually took place. We discussed the matter as a team, that is myself, Kurt Zahra, secret services, and possibly our subordinates." 

They asked Cutajar "point blank" about the meeting and he admitted. They informed the inquiring magistrate and "there was nothing much else to do at the time". 

Details of the meeting were given in a previous hearing by Edwin Brincat. You can read his evidence here

Arnaud's testimony behind closed doors

10.59am The court rules that because Arnaud cannot physically present the pardon, and since the pardon was also granted in respect of other, unrelated crimes, Arnaud's testimony will be heard behind closed doors.

He will testify about the pardon and then Magistrate Montebello will decide whether the actual document will be filed.

So a partial victory for the defence team. But we will have to leave the court room, for now.

Pardon will 'definitely not be exhibited'

10.53am The Deputy Attorney General is adamant. He says the pardon granted to Theuma will "definitely not be exhibited" because it is "a document of the head of state." Mercieca disagrees and says that if there is any sensitive information in the pardon, that could be prejudicial to any ongoing cases, the testimony could be heard behind closed doors.

There's a clash of legal arguments and a reminder that, until a few weeks ago, Mercieca was actually a lawyer for the Attorney General. You can read about his switch here.

The Deputy AG says there are a number of crimes mentioned in Theuma's pardon that are unrelated to the case.

Melvin Theuma, accompanied by a police officer, in one of his first appearances in court.Melvin Theuma, accompanied by a police officer, in one of his first appearances in court.

A copy of the pardon

10.43am Defence lawyer Mercieca asks Arnaud for a copy of the pardon granted to Melvin Theuma in exchange for his evidence. Arnaud says he hasn't brought a copy. The deputy Attorney General interrupts to say this was done on his advice. A legal argument ensues in which defence lawyers argue that a pardon was always made available and was reproduced in one judgement: Carmel Attard v the Attorney General. 

Mercieca asks: "Why is Melvin Theuma's pardon any different?" 

The prosecution objects saying the pardon was never mentioned in the court order and is not needed to control the line of questioning to the witness.

[Mercieca is referring to a case dating back to the 1990s when Richard Cachia Caruana, former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami’s chief of staff, was stabbed outside his house. A pardon was granted in exchange for evidence implicating, among others, Carmel Attard.]

Lawrence Cutajar and Melvin Theuma summoned

10.41am Ex-police chief Lawrence Cutajar and self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma have just been summoned and told not to access their mobile phones while they wait to testify. The acknowledge the court order and leave as a court usher watches over them. 

Don't read the live blogs

10.39am. All our readers are welcome except... Mercieca has just asked the court to ensure that witnesses waiting outside do not consult any live blogs before their turn. He argues that to do so would mean that they get a preview on the line of questioning. 

Inspector Arnaud takes the stand

10.36am Inspector Keith Arnaud takes the stand. The magistrate notes that today's hearing is taking place upon a request by the accused. Fenech's lawyer, Charles Merceica, declares that cross-examination talks place without prejudice to the right of disclosure. Arnaud then takes the oath. 

Keith Arnaud arrives at court on Thursday. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaKeith Arnaud arrives at court on Thursday. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Armed officers escort Fenech

10.33am We're about to start. Yorgen Fenech, wearing a visor, has just been escorted into court by three armed offices from the Corradino Correctional Facility. He takes a seat next to his lawyers, with two armed officers sitting close beside him. 

Daphne's family arrives

10.27am Lawyer Peter Caruana Galizia, the husband of the murdered journalist, has arrived in court. We're still waiting for Yorgen Fenech as the court fast fills up.

Gathering in a smaller court room

10.19am This morning, we're in hall 17, second floor. It's a smaller room so seating space is limited. More chairs are being brought into the hall. Meanwhile, inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra have arrived. Arnaud, the lead investigator in the case, is expected to be cross examined today. 

The legal teams arrive

Jason Azzopardi, lawyer for the Daphne Caruana Galizia family. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaJason Azzopardi, lawyer for the Daphne Caruana Galizia family. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

10.02 am We're waiting for Magistrate Rachel Montebello to finish hearing another case before the compilation of evidence resumes. The lawyers have begun arriving. Fenech's wife, mother and some friends are also in court.

Charles Merceica (centre) part of the defence team of Yorgen Fenech who is accused of conspiring to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina/FacebookCharles Merceica (centre) part of the defence team of Yorgen Fenech who is accused of conspiring to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina/Facebook


Daphne's murder, 33 months on

9.56am Good morning and welcome to the live blog where we will provide constant updates on the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, accused of conspiring to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia.

On Wednesday, Fenech failed in his legal bid to challenge the Cabinet's decision denying him a presidential pardon.

Thursday's evidence will be heard 33 months on from the journalist's murder on October 16, 2017. Civil society group Repubblika has shared some of the Caruana Galizia's last words ahead of the monthly vigil marking her murder. 

The main points from the last session

The last time we were in court, it was to hear the evidence of the former prime minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri

He said:

  • Fenech never spoke to him about the murder;
  • Joseph muscat had urged him to speak to Fenech before his arrest, to stop him from leaving Malta;
  • Opposition leader Adrian Delia once went to ask Fenech for €50,000 to be used against David Casa’s re-election; 
  • He admitted he knew Fenech was the owner of 17 Black and said he planned doing business with his good friend's company after politics.

The players

For reference, inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are prosecuting. Lawyers Matthew Brincat and Kathleen Calleja Grima are assisting Theuma. Fenech's lawyers are Gianluca Caruana Curran, Marion Camilleri and Charles Merceica. Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is assisting the victim's family.

Deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia along with lawyer Nadia Attard from the AG's office will be assisting the prosecution. 

Magistrate Rachel Montebello is presiding.

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