Updated 2.59pm

Men accused of murdering journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had information about an impending police raid down to the hour when it was to take place, one of the journalist’s killers testified on Tuesday.

Vince Muscat told a court that he and Degiorgio brothers Alfred and George not only knew about the police’s plans to raid a Marsa potato shed on December 4, 2017 “two or three weeks in advance,” but also that it would take place “at 8:00 or 8:30am” that morning.

The men would never go to the shed that early in the day, Muscat testified, and had gone there early that day intentionally, in anticipation of the raid. Muscat recalled how he was at a coffee shop earlier that morning when the Degiorgios showed up and told him to head to the Marsa shed.

Police arrested eight people in that raid, including Muscat and the Degiorgios, and would arrest two more later that day.

Alfred Degiorgio knew well in advance that his brother George, who is alleged to have detonated the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia, was in police’s sights and had asked Muscat to break that news to him, Muscat testified.

Muscat told a court that he had refused, telling Alfred “you tell him, he’s your brother.”

He said he did not know where Alfred Degiorgio was getting the inside information from, but that he knew that former deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta “was leaking information”.

Valletta has denied those claims.

Muscat has admitted to his role in killing Caruana Galizia and is serving a 15-year sentence for that crime. The Degiorgio brothers are pleading not guilty to murder charges, as is businessman Yorgen Fenech, who stands accused of complicity in the murder.

Testifying on Tuesday in the case against Fenech, Muscat also:

  • Provided details about a plan to shoot Caruana Galizia as she worked at her home desk, using a gun provided by Robert Agius and Jamie Vella. The plan was cancelled at the last minute after George Degiorgio got cold feet, he said. Agius and Vella are being charged separately.

  • Recounted how he would drive Alfred Degiorgio to meet murder middleman Melvin Theuma, with the first meeting happening in May 2017 but plans put on hold, at Theuma’s instruction, until after the general election of June that year. Muscat said he had "no idea" why the election date was relevant.

  • Recalled Alfred Degiorgio telling him, on several occasions, how the person who had engaged Theuma was pushing for the murder to happen as quickly as possible because “she’s going to publish information”.

  • Said that Alfred Degiorgio had once told him that he was expecting a call from Theuma, to speak to the person who had engaged him. Alfred told him that he would put the call on speakerphone. But the call never came.

  • Described a plan to place a bomb in Caruana Galizia’s car as she attended Notte Bianca events in Valletta, and then blow her up as she drove home.

  • Said he and the Degiorgios were paid a €30,000 deposit upfront and the €120,000 balance one day after they killed Caruana Galizia, with the cash handed to them in a brown envelope in Marsascala.

The case resumes on Wednesday, June 9. A Europol expert who testified in the case last month will face cross-examination on June 16, magistrate Rachel Montebello decreed.

Vince Muscat (right) was testifying in the case against Yorgen Fenech (left), who stands accused of complicity in Caruana Galizia's murder.Vince Muscat (right) was testifying in the case against Yorgen Fenech (left), who stands accused of complicity in Caruana Galizia's murder.


As it happened 


Live blog ends

2.15pm
That’s all from us today - this live blog will end here. We will have a summary of Muscat’s key points of testimony available at the top of this article shortly. Thank you for having joined us.


Case adjourned to tomorrow

2.12pm The court is adjourned until tomorrow [Wednesday] at 11am, when the court will hear from one, unnamed, witness and hear lawyers’ submissions about “some application” concerning the case. 

Europol expert Yulia Toma will face cross-examination on June 16, the court says. [Toma first testified last month].


Preparing for the police raids

2.09pm Azzopardi: “On Sunday evening, the eve of the murder, you got a call from Alfred Degiorgio to move the bomb. Where was it on Saturday 14th (October, 2017)?”

Muscat: “It was at the Santa Venera garage and had been there for a number of days.” 

Azzopardi: “You were told of the raids weeks before the arrests.” 

Muscat: “Yes, we were told two or three weeks before. We knew it was to happen at around 8.30am.”

Azzopardi: “When did you learn about the time?” 

Muscat: “Two or three weeks before December 4th [the date of the arrests], the Degiorgios and I knew of the date and time of the arrests. In fact, that’s why we went there [Marsa potato shed] earlier. 

Muscat says he would usually head there at “8 or 9, even later”, while the others would usually head there even later than that. 

Azzopardi: “So that day wasn’t your normal time to be there.”

Muscat: “Not at all.”

No further questions from Azzopardi for now.


'What did the election have to do with it?'

1.59pm Parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi is questioning the witness. He is looking for more detailed information about the timing of the Busy Bee meetings between Alfred Degiorgio and Melvin Theuma, as well as when they got the go-ahead for the hit. 

Muscat says the go-ahead came in June, "after the election". 

The first Busy Bee meeting was in May. "The election had already been called," Muscat says. 

Muscat tells Azzopardi that Theuma had told them "Now the election is coming. We'll talk after June." 

He continues: "Days after the election, I took Alfred Degiorgio to get the deposit."

Azzopardi: "What did the election have to do with it?"

Muscat: "I don't know." 


Court hearing resumes

1.56pm We're back in court after a 25-minute break, but it remains to be seen just how long today's hearing will go on for: Yorgen Fenech's lawyers have told the court that they have other appointments scheduled for this afternoon.


Short break

1.30pm Before we move on to questions by Jason Azzopardi, the lawyer for the Caruana Galizia family, the court allows a 15-minute break. 


The day of the raid

1.25pm On the day of the raid, Muscat was at an Msida coffee shop, selling tea and bread when the Degiorgios told him to go with them to the Marsa shed. 

Police moved in on foot and in dinghies.

Muscat says Alfred Degiorgio never told him who he was getting information from. "What I know is that (former deputy police commissioner) Silvio Valletta was leaking information," he says. 


 

Melvin Theuma. Photo: Jonathan BorgMelvin Theuma. Photo: Jonathan Borg


Preparing for a raid

1.18pm The brothers told Muscat that “there was some talk.” (Hemm xi leħen)

"What do you mean by this?" Muscat asked. (At the time he didn’t know about the top-up call George had made on the day of the hit. That was the call that gave them away.)

He says that he began to sense that the brothers were keeping something away from him. They would change the conversation as soon as he approached.

Meanwhile, the hitmen cleared the shed. Halloween figures and a guard dog were removed.

Some days before, Theuma came to the shed in his car. "I sensed that Melvin Theuma was troubled," Muscat says. 

Degiorgio returned and told Muscat they would be raided on December 4.

"That information matched the information Alfred had. We had known that we would get a raid," Muscat says. 


Advanced warning of a raid

1.13pm Muscat describes a Saturday at the Marsa shed near the Regatta Club. Degiorgio called him over and told him: "On December 4, we're getting a raid. They're going to arrest my brother."

Alfred Degiorgio wanted Muscat to deliver the news to George Degiorgio but Muscat refused, insisting, "He's your brother".

Muscat headed to the bar, went through the curtain and spotted George Degiorgio having breakfast.

Muscat:“Your brother wants you.”
Degiorgio: “I’ve been expecting this, Ċens.”


Final balance

1.05pm Muscat is testifying about Melvin Theuma. All the self-confessed hitman knew about the self-confessed middleman came from Alfred Degorgio.

Theuma used to visit the potato sheds regularly. 

The day after the murder, Degorgio washed the rented car, and returned it to the garage. 

"Then he asked me to go with him to Marsascala where Alfred was to get the money," Muscat tells the court. "I sat at a cafeteria and waited for 30-45 minutes."

Degiorgio told him he was getting the €120,000 balance for the hit from Theuma. He returned with the cash in a brown envelope, mainly in €50 notes.

Muscat says he was given his €40,000 in packets of €5,000 at the Marsa sheds. Degiorgio took the rest to his brother, George.


Muscat and his tea

1.01pm Muscat says he got into his car and took the road to Rabat. As he drove, he dismantled his Nokia burner phone. 

“It ended up in pieces,” he says. 

Alfred Degiorgio, who lived in St Paul’s Bay, also headed home, via Salina. 

Muscat says that when he went to Rabat, he went to get some tea, then adds “I could barely drink it down. I felt sick.” [Muscat hadn't added this detail when he first testified about his post-murder tea].


Detonating the bomb

12.57pm  Muscat says the Degiorgios each had a boat. But Alfred’s boat was “slow”. 

George used to sail out regularly, he says, so it was normal for him to do so that day. 

“Meanwhile, Alfred and I sat at our vantage point under an umbrella, for shade and to protect us from prying eyes.” 

George called Alfred at around 11am, he recalls, to ask for an update. Alfred told him to wait for his call and to not call him again. 

At 3pm, the gate’s light flashed. Alfred called George and told him “she’s coming out now... hold on, she’s gone back inside.”

But George did not wait. He armed the bomb. 

As Daphne Caruana Galizia returned and drove off in her car, Alfred Degiogio and Vince Muscat walked away.

Muscat says Alfred Degiorgio asked him to have a look, to check that the blast had gone as planned. 

"I saw some smoke but we hadn't heard much," he says. 


Lock-picking practice 

12.48pm Prosecutor Keith Arnaud asks how Alfred Degiorgio had learnt to pick the car’s locks. 

“George had directed us to a car dealer in Buġibba, close to Robert tal-Maksar’s house. The garage owner was to give us a Peugeot identical to that used to Caruana Galizia, to use to practice lock-picking,” he says. 

Muscat says they took that car to the Marsa potato shed in the afternoon.

Arnaud asks the court to ban the publication of further details about this part of Muscat's testimony, in which he explains how exactly they picked the car's locks. 

The court upholds the ban. 


Returning to the scene 

12.45pm Muscat says the men waited in the area for around one more hour, and then left. George Degiorgio headed home, while Alfred “told me to go with him to his place, since we would soon have to return to the vantage point.” 

They returned there early in the morning of October 16, 2017. The car was still parked outside, where it was when they placed the bomb. 


Placing the bomb 

12.40pm Muscat says that he and George Degiorgio returned to collect the bomb “at around 10pm or 10.30pm that night”. 

The bomb fit perfectly inside a small shoebox. They placed it in the fields next to the Caruana Galizia family home, and waited. 

The plan was for George Degiorgio to head out to sea at around 5am and to then activate the device once Alfred gave him the go-ahead. 

Muscat says he and Alfred remained there, with two balaclavas and a backpack that they were to use to carry the bomb if they had to leave without placing and detonating it. 

Caruana Galizia’s car was parked outside the house’s gate, facing inwards. 

The two men walked through some vegetation and reached the gate. Muscat says he kept watch while Degiorgio unlocked the car’s door, then opened the driver-side door. He then placed the bomb under the driver’s seat and locked the car.


 The eve of the murder

12.34pm “Some days after Notte Bianca, on October 15 at around 9pm, I was going out to eat with my partner,” he says. 

“Alfred called, I told him I was heading out to eat. He told me ‘Ċens, her car is outside’ and wanted me to move the bomb back to Naxxar from the Santa Venera garage.”

Muscat says he did so, despite reservations. 

“I couldn’t tell these people that I was uneasy about going alone, or ask him to send his brother to help. I couldn’t say no, either.” 

Muscat says he collected the bomb and headed to the vantage point, where he collected the Naxxar garage key from Alfred Degiorgio.


Notte Bianca bomb plot

12.28pm Muscat:  “One day, we saw Daphne Caruana Galizia and her husband head to the Phoenicia [Hotel, in Floriana]. They parked and got out of the car.

Her husband locked the car, she crossed the road and he followed. That was the only time we saw them go out.” 

Muscat says that in early October, their plan had shifted somewhat and they now planned to blow Daphne up as she drove home from Notte Bianca. 

“We expected her to attend. Everyone went there.” 

Muscat says they had moved the bomb to a Santa Venera garage, in anticipation of that. If she went to Notte Bianca events, the men would place the bomb in her car that night. 

“Not that we would blow it up amidst people,” he says. “We’d do it as she drove home.” 

As they drove through Floriana, he recalls the Degiorgios saying they didn’t care who else would be with her in the car that night. 

“Whoever it is, it could be her children,” he says they had insisted.

Muscat says he’s thankful it didn’t happen that night. 


Learning about the bomb

12.22pm Muscat says Alfred Degiorgio told him that the bomb was to be placed under an overturned boat at the potato shed. 

“Alfred pulled an aluminium box from under the boat,” he recalls. “It was 5 by 6 by 1.5 or 2 inches,” Muscat says, gesturing. 

They took the bomb and left it at the Naxxar garage. He and Alfred headed to a Mosta shop to buy a device that would allow them to test the charge of the bomb’s battery. 

The battery would last around six months or so if not used, he says, and every time Alfred checked it, it registered as ‘full’. 

Robert Agius and Jamie Vella showed them how the bomb worked at the Naxxar garage. 

The bomb contained 500g of “gelatine” [gelignite] and contained a serial number. Alfred Degiorgio added a small water bottle filled with petrol, to add to the bomb’s destructive potential.   


Bombs arrive in Malta

12.15pm Then the bombs arrived, Muscat says. That was around September.

“George had insisted that the bombs had to be powerful, ‘not like that of Romeo Bone’. I’m not saying they were involved in that hit, but that’s what I heard George say.”

[Romeo Bone was maimed in a car bomb explosion in Msida in February 2017. The blast cost him both his legs but did not kill him].

Muscat says Robert Agius and Jamie Vella had assured George Degiorgio that the bomb packed a punch. 

“It’s gelatine and contains 500g [of explosive],” he says they had assured.

Muscat says he was present during that conversation.


Arguing with Alfred Degiorgio

12.11pm Muscat recalls following the Caruana Galizias to the airport when they travelled abroad. They parked their car at the taxi area of Malta International Airport. 

They feared they were “leaving for good” after seeing their three large suitcases, Muscat says. 

Muscat says he and Alfred had argued around that time, and Alfred had asked him for his share of the deposit money back. 

“Then, around September, he told me that we were going to proceed with it. I asked for my share of the money back.” 

Meanwhile, Melvin Theuma kept pressuring Alfred Degiorgio to get it done, and done quickly. Alfred offered to take Theuma to their vantage point, to assure him that they were on the case.


Using a bomb was 'less hassle'

12.07pm “George always preferred a plan to use a bomb to murder her,” Muscat says. “Less hassle.” 

Muscat says he told them that he would ask “Maksar and Jamie” to supply the explosives. 

“The Degiorgios told me that the bombs would be imported from abroad,” he tells the court.


Calling the hit off

12.03pm Muscat says Caruana Galizia would often work late into the night, “even up to 2am”. 

That night, she was working away at her computer. Alfred called George to make his way over to Bidnija. But there was a problem.

“George told him that there were many police cars around. Alfred realised that his brother was getting cold feet about coming over with his own car. We called it off.” 


Preparing to shoot Daphne 

12pm Muscat says he and Alfred Degiorgio waited in the fields. George Degiorgio left, to return once his brother called him. 

Muscat explains the initial murder plan: 

“The plan was for George to go to the Naxxar garage. Once Mrs Caruana Galizia was at her desk, Alfred would call George, who would drive into a field next to her house. 

“He was to enter the field, turn the car to face out, with its engine running, Alfred would shoot and we would then make our escape.”

The men had the ‘Calambrina’ gun and a couple of bottles of water with them, Muscat says. 

George was to also get an AK-47 rifle as well as other weapons, as backup. 


Armed and ready

11.55am Everything was set. They headed to Bidnija, weapon armed and ready. George Degiorgio dropped them off. 

This was around August, Muscat tells Arnaud. 

The men were on-site at around 8pm or 9pm – they knew of some road block being set up later that evening and wanted to avoid it. 


Setting up new vantage points

11.52am Muscat says Alfred Degiorgio tested the weapons at a field in Żebbuġ. Meanwhile, the hitmen set up new vantage points.

One was close to a fast food kiosk that sold hot dogs. Another was close to “that big garden” [Ġnien L-Għarusa tal-Mosta]. Yet another was close to a narrow lane off a road leading to Mġarr. 

Muscat rattles off directions to the spots.


Finding the weapons at a Naxxar garage

11.49am Muscat speaks about the Naxxar garage. 

He says the men had use of the garage and were to head straight there after the Caruana Galizia murder was carried out. 

He believed the place belonged to “Robert and Jamie” (the two men accused of supplying the bomb. 

“Alfred and I found the weapons there. The key to the electric gate and garage had been given to us. There was an automatic gate and the garage was
underground,” he recalls.

Muscat is asked who gave them the keys. 

“I didn’t get them. George Degiorgo had told us,” he says. 

It was a one-car garage, of decent size. They went to it in June or July, after receiving the murder deposit. 

When they first went there, there was a stolen Mitsubishi Pajero inside, he says. The place was later cleared. 

“We needed a place nearby. Not a garage in Marsa, for instance,” Muscat says. 


A plan to shoot Daphne through her window

11.41am Time went by, and the summer heat ramped up, Muscat says.

“Her home had a small window, at basement level. One night, Alfred and I walked up to her home. The light was on. We saw her seated at her computer, there was a living room. She was doing her work.

“That seemed to be her study. She was there every day. So we planned for Alfred to shoot her with a telescopic weapon. A Calambrina,” he says.

The men filled sacks with soil and placed the sacks on rubble walls, to give the weapon a solid place to rest on. 

Arnaud interjects. 

“What’s a Calambrina?” he asks. 

“It’s a big weapon. They had got us three weapons. Robert Tal-Maksar [Agius] and Jamie Vella got us those weapons. They put them at the Naxxar garage. They got them to use on Mrs Caruana Galizia. Only one of those weapons was good.”


Spotting Daphne in Naxxar

11.35am Muscat recalls them blocking a water bowser one evening as they were keeping watch. They had to move their car out of the way, he says. 

Later, they switched their car for a smaller model. 

“The owner had a fox terrier with puppies. I went to see them,” he says. 

The new car had stickers which they removed, except for one obstinate one that would not come off. 

“It was some sort of advert. The number plate ahead a Y or Z in it.” 

June and July went by, and Melvin Theuma told them that Caruana Galizia liked to go to a coffee shop in Naxxar, close to a bank. 

“Alfred and I used to sit in a coffee shop opposite that one, to keep watch. We once saw her car in Naxxar. Alfred told me, ‘Ċens, go see if she’s in there.’”

Muscat says he entered the shop on the pretence of buying “pastries or something”, and saw Caruana Galizia seated there with her laptop. 


A call that never came

11.29am  Muscat pauses for a second. 

“Perhaps I never testified about this,” he begins. 

“One day we were at our vantage point, and Alfred told me that Melvin was to call him and that the ‘man who had contracted him’ was to speak to Alfred.
Alfred said he would put that call on speaker phone.” 

But that never happened, Muscat said. 

“We waited and waited, but nobody called. Neither Melvin nor the person who hired him.” 


'Whoever it was wanted us to hurry'

11.26am “We asked Melvin Theuma to speak to the person who had hired him, to get information about her whereabouts. Where she would go out and so on,” he said.  

Theuma never spoke to them about his employer, but he would tell Alfred Degiorgio “hurry, because she’s going to publish information.” 

The magistrate probes on this point. 

“Whoever it was wanted to hurry things up,” Muscat says. 

He is asked how he knows this. 

“Because Melvin Theuma used to tell Alfred, and I was with Alfred every day.”


Keeping watch using €300 binoculars

11.23am Muscat says he and Alfred Degiorgio would keep watch from their Bidnija vantage point “practically every day.” 

From their spot, they could see the lane to the Caruana Galizia family home, its gate and the road running through the Bidnija valley. 

The first time they went there, they saw Caruana Galizia’s car outside the gate. 

“We weren’t sure it was her car back then,” he recalls. “But then we would see her go shopping, running errands to Mosta and so on.” 

Her car was parked outside the gate, facing trees. They used self-focusing binoculars that they bought for around €300 to observe. 

“I had driven Alfred to Forestals to buy those,” Muscat says. 

They never saw her car parked outside again after that first time, he says. 


Obtaining a car

11.18am Muscat says he always drove Alfred Degiorgio to Busy Bee using his own car. 

After they had received the go-ahead, Alfred told him to drive him to Luqa to get another car. They went to a car hire garage close to St Vincent de Paul. 

Arnaud asks whether he knows the name of the garage or its owner. Muscat says he does not. 

Muscat recalls Alfred Degiorgio telling him that the garage owner had his own Peugeot car available for them. It was a larger model and not quite what they wanted – they were looking for a smaller car to manoeuvre through country lanes better. The owner told them he would give them a smaller Peugeot once he had one available. 


Getting the deposit and buying burner phones

11.14am Once the election was over, Theuma gave them the green light. 

“I dropped Alfred Degiorgio off at Busy Bee again. He came back with an envelope – the €30,000 deposit.”

Muscat and the Degiorgio brothers split the deposit evenly between the three of them “and that’s when the work began,” he says. 

Muscat says Theuma had a habit of showing up at the Marsa potato shed in his car. 

“To avoid that, we bought four cheap Nokia mobile phones from the Marsa/Ħamrun area – one each for themselves and one for Theuma.” 

Waiting for the election

11.11am All that happened in May 2017, Muscat recalls. 

Muscat says Melvin Theuma had told Alfred Degiorgio that the general election was to be held on June 3 of that year. “We had to wait for it to be over to get the go-ahead,” he says. 

[Joseph Muscat had announced the election date during a May 1 speech]


Setting the price and heading for a kebab

11.06am Muscat says he took Degiorgio to Busy Bee for a second time a few days later. The three hitmen had fixed the price for the murder at €150,000, with a €30,000 deposit to be paid up-front, which they were to keep if the hit was called off. 

Arnaud asks whether there was a plan on how to carry out the hit. 

“The plan was for Alfred Degiorgio to shoot her,” Muscat says. “But we didn’t have the go-ahead yet.”  

After that second Busy Bee meeting, Muscat says Alfred Degiorgio told him that the price they had requested had been agreed and Theuma had given him €1500.

Muscat says he got a share of that and went to Ħamrun to buy a kebab. [When Muscat testified in the case against the alleged bomb suppliers, he recalled how they had blown up the journalist and then gone for a cup of tea.]


'Get rid of Mrs Caruana Galizia'

11.03am Muscat says he did not see who Degiorgio met at Busy Bee (a cafe in Msida), though Degiorgio told him it was Theuma.

When Degiorgio returned, he told Muscat that the job was “to get rid of Mrs Caruana Galizia”. 

Degiorgio said he told Theuma that he would get back to him after speaking to his partners. 


Getting word of 'a big job'

10.59am Muscat begins. 

“In May 2017 I went to the potato shed in Marsa, as I did every day. Alfred Degiorgio told me “Ċens, Melvin Theuma came. He told Darren Debono (it-Topo) that he has a big job for us.”

“The next day, Alfred Degiorgio and I went to look for Theuma at the shops near the race course. He wasn’t there. We headed to Ħamrun, to his usual haunts. But he wasn’t there either. Neither me nor Alfred Degiorgio knew what this ‘big job’ was. 

“Then, two days later, Alfred Degiorgio told me that he had fixed a meeting with Theuma at Busy Bee. I dropped Fred off there and went to park next to the church. After a while, he came back.”


'What do you know?'

10.57am Prosecutor Keith Arnaud begins with a broad question for the witness. "What do you know about this case?" 


Vince Muscat begins testimony

10.55am The day's key witness, Vince Muscat, has entered court. He is given a chair in front of the witness stand and asks for permission to remove his mask. 

Muscat takes the oath and his testimony can begin.


Accused in court

10.52am Yorgen Fenech is brought into court, wearing a grey suit and white shirt. His lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca are here. 

The prosecution - that's Keith Arnaud, Philip Galea Farrugia and Anthony Vella - take their place too.


Fenech case is up next

10.50am There are no further witnesses to testify today in the people smuggling case, and that means magistrate Montebello can move on to the next item on the agenda: the case against Yorgen Fenech. 


A legal aside

10.45am The previous case is still being heard in court – and it’s a pretty interesting one, too. 

A woman stands accused of smuggling people over to Italy using fake or stolen travel documents. 

Another woman is testifying in the case. The witness was caught by immigration police as she tried to board the catamaran to Sicily.  

She tells the court that she paid someone €2,000 to get passports for herself and her two children, to cross over to Sicily. She met the alleged smuggler at the Marsa open market, she tells the court.

The accused was caught at the Valletta seaport, as police interrogated the witness. She told the police that she was stepping in as an interpreter (the witness is French-speaking), but it appears they didn’t buy that explanation. 

Police searched her and found several COVID-19 test certificates belonging to other people. She told the police that she had used the certificates to cross over to Sicily to buy clothes. 

It's not the case we came to court to report on, but we may as well do so while we wait for the case against Fenech to begin.


 

Melvin Theuma's anger

10.14am Today's court hearing has yet to begin. Let's cast our minds to last week's hearing, when Melvin Theuma testified.

Theuma told the court that he had never spoken to Vince Muscat, known as il-Koħħu. 

"How could Koħħu get the pardon?" Theuma asked somewhat rhetorically. 

"I never spoke to Koħħu, never, never! So I had a greater chance of the pardon because I had recordings that would pin the mastermind," Theuma told the court.

Theuma, you will recall, was given a presidential pardon in exchange for testifying about his role in the murder plot. 


The key characters

10.05 am The magistrate is currently hearing another case. While we wait for proceedings to begin, let's take a look at the key individuals involved in this case.

Yorgen Fenech: a business tycoon and heir to a family fortune, and the man in the dock. Fenech is accused of complicity in Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder;

Melvin Theuma: a taxi driver who worked for Fenech and who has testified that he served as a middleman between Fenech and the alleged hitmen;

Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio: brothers who were the alleged hitmen;

Vince Muscat: a self-confessed hitman who says he worked with the Degiorgios to kill Caruana Galizia. Muscat is now serving a 15-year prison sentence. 

Jamie Vella and Robert Agius: the alleged bomb suppliers.

Keith Arnaud, Kurt Zahra: the lead police investigators and prosecutors;

Keith Schembri: a friend of Yorgen Fenech's and the chief of staff to Joseph Muscat when he was prime minister;

Kenneth Camilleri: a former police officer who served as part of the security detail at the Office of the Prime Minister;

Johann Cremona: One of Fenech's business associates;

Rachel Montebello: the presiding magistrate;

Gianluca Caruana Curran, Marion Camilleri, Charles Mercieca: Yorgen Fenech's legal team;

Marc Sant: Vince Muscat's lawyer;

Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia: lawyers appearing for the Caruana Galizia family.

Philip Galea Farrugia, Anthony Vella: representing the attorney general's office.


Welcome

10 am Good morning and welcome to this live blog. We're at the Valletta law courts, in hall 22 to be precise, where the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech is set to resume. 

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