A report on data extracted from Daphne Caruana Galizia’s cloned mobile phone was not available to the defence “on the eve” of Yorgen Fenech’s trial and appeared “not to exist” in the records of the murder case. 

The issue came to the fore during a sitting in constitutional proceedings wherein lawyers for the man accused of alleged complicity in the murder of the journalist in October 2017 are claiming that his right to a fair hearing was breached by non-disclosure of data. 

Fenech’s lawyers are claiming that police were selective in handing over data gathered throughout the murder probe and that without full disclosure there could be no trial.

A piece of evidence still not available to Fenech’s defence team was a report prepared by a Europol expert who, back in March 2018, had been tasked by the magistrate handling the murder inquiry at the time, to examine data from a clone of the murdered journalist’s phone. 

The information came to light when that expert was summoned to testify via video-link in Fenech’s non-disclosure case.

Marinus Martin Van Der Meij confirmed that he had been appointed by then-magistrate Anthony Vella to forensically examine data extracted from the phone. 

The witness also confirmed that he had completed the task and subsequently handed over “physically” a report about his findings to the magistrate in May 2018. 

That report, a copy of which was still in the expert’s possession, had a unique designation code. 

It presented “different scenarios of individuals who could have had an interest in assassinating” Caruana Galizia, said lawyer Charles Mercieca. 

But further questions about the contents of the report were met with objection by the State Advocate’s lawyers.

The Europol witness also pointed out that, as a witness appointed by the court, he had handed his work to the magistrate and, therefore, the criminal court had “full ownership” of the report. 

That meant that he could not divulge details about its contents.

The court, presided over by Madam Justice Audrey Demicoli, observed that if the report was in the acts of the criminal proceedings, the proper procedure to follow was to request the permission of the Criminal Court to produce a copy of the document. 

But Fenech’s lawyer argued that the report “did not exist” in the criminal acts.

State Advocate lawyer Charlene Camilleri Zarb rebutted that statement, insisting that the report was to be obtained from the records of the criminal proceedings. 

But Mercieca was adamant. 

“It does not exist.”

Although that report could contain data that favoured the accused, his lawyers did not have that information “on the eve” of Fenech’s trial. 

He had searched through the court documents and there appeared to be no trace of that report, insisted Mercieca, reserving the right to ask further questions to the expert witness at a later stage. 

“So it does not exist and yet you know what conclusions were reached in that report,” remarked Camilleri Zarb, claiming to be somewhat “confused”.

The case continues. 

Lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Marion Camilleri are also assisting Fenech.

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