One of the three men accused of the brutal murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has filed a constitutional application arguing that electronic data about the case had been collected under a law repealed by an EU directive.

Known as il-Fulu, Alfred Degiorgio is also demanding that the data is removed from the case. If upheld, the claim could cause serious problems to the prosecution of Mr Degiorgio and the two other men accused of committing the murder.

In the application, filed before the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional jurisdiction, lawyer William Cuschieri argues that EU Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of data from electronic communications placed an obligation on service providers to keep user data for use by the national authorities. The directive was transposed into local law by legal notice in 2008.

He argued that in a 2014 case before the Court of Justice of the European Union the directive was declared invalid and as a result the legal notice that saw it being transposed into Maltese law was null and void.

Therefore, the retention of data by services providers and all access to it by the authorities was illegal, Dr Cuschieri submitted.

He noted that the data had been retained and passed on to court expert Martin Bajada, who had expressly requested it from service providers on the court’s authority. It had also been shared with the FBI.

The lawyer requested the court to declare that all data gathered under the legal notice was collected illegally making it inadmissible in the proceedings against Mr Degiorgio.

Constitutional applications to have the court declare that family of the victim had not handed over the journalist’s laptop as well as to declare that having court expert Martin Bajada part of the case breached Mr Degiorgio’s rights have already been filed by Dr Cuschieri.

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