A man accused of attempting to illegally import explosives and polonium he had purchased on the dark web, has requested the police in court to reveal the intelligence that led to his arrest. 

Jomic Calleja was arrested in 2020 after a package containing explosives was delivered to him in a controlled delivery organised by the police. The operation was the result of cooperation between local and foreign intelligence agencies.

Calleja had discussed importing the poisonous radioactive substance polonium over the dark web, the court heard in previous sittings.

When the case continued before Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech on Monday, lawyer Benjamin Valenzia said he had filed an application prior to the sitting where he was requesting information related to police intelligence that led to his client's arrest.

He said he was making this request on the basis of the principle of equality of arms and disclosure of information held by the police about his client. 

The request found strong opposition from the prosecution, which insisted that intelligence would not remain so if it were to be divulged. Moreover, the police received information from various channels, including anonymously. 

The magistrate agreed, adding that there were treaties governing the use of intelligence and that revealing intelligence would lead to serious negative repercussions on the Maltese police. 

Valenzia said he was reserving his client's rights on the matter, even over breach of human rights. He insisted that his client had the right to ask questions on where the intelligence leading to his arrest came from and what it consisted of. 

Valenzia also asked why the police had carried out the arrest, at the time they did but the Inspector said he had not been involved in the arrest operation. 

The cross-examination was suspended, with Valenzia telling the court that he needed to refer to the acts of the case for information that could exonerate his client. 

“Let me make your life easier,” replied the magistrate. “Intelligence is not going to be found in the acts. The fact that someone told the police something is not evidence, the evidence is what the police discovered.”

Valenzia insisted on his request to see the intelligence which led to his client being investigated. 

“I do not have an inkling on what the police might know,” Valenzia said.

“Tough luck” replied the magistrate.

Inspector Zammit said the request verged on the insulting.

The request for intelligence was “not only frivolous but vexatious,” the magistrate said when the defence mentioned the possibility of a constitutional case.

The case continues next month.

Inspector Omar Zammit and Jeffrey Cutajar are prosecuting.

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