Murder middleman Melvin Theuma is to undergo a psychiatric assessment following an alleged self-harm incident last month, a court ordered on Tuesday. 

Theuma has admitted to serving as the middleman between business tycoon Yorgen Fenech and three men accused of assassinating journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017.

Fenech and the three alleged hitmen deny the charges, but Theuma has offered up testimony as a state witness. 

Prosecutors’ case against Fenech rests in large part on Theuma’s testimony, as well as recordings made by the middleman.

The request for Theuma to be psychiatrically examined was made by Fenech’s lawyers in court on Tuesday. Psychiatrist and former health minister Joe Cassar will oversee that process. 

Psychiatrist Joe Cassar will assess Melvin Theuma's mental condition.Psychiatrist Joe Cassar will assess Melvin Theuma's mental condition.

The assessment will look into his state of mind and fitness to testify after an alleged self-harm incident that almost cost him his life.  

Theuma was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital on July 21 after he was found in a pool of blood in his bedroom. He was discovered with multiple stab wounds to his neck and gut at his home in Swieqi.

Police have said the injuries were believed to be self-inflicted after Theuma was found holding a large kitchen knife. He had also indicated to first responders that he had injured himself and both the scene and his wounds were compatible with self-harm.

He is now being monitored more closely by police officers for his own safety.

New recordings come to light

Theuma’s recordings have been the subject of significant controversy during the court case, after a set of eight previously unheard files came to light.

In an earlier hearing, a court-appointed IT expert had explained that the undiscovered files had been missed due to a software compatibility issue. 

On Tuesday, that same expert, Alvin Cardona, told the court that he had since discovered “many” other voice recordings besides the eight mentioned previously. 

Cardona presented five USB drives with the recordings. 

Snippets of recordings, ostensibly from the evidence submitted in the court case, were leaked online earlier this month with police investigating the source of the leak.  

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