Lawyers for men accused of killing journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have demanded that authorities produce evidence of phone intercepts they "bragged about" linking their clients to the murder.
The Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police were called to produce the telephone intercepts in a judicial protest by George and Alfred Degiorgio, two of the three men accused of having killed Caruana Galizia in a car bomb on October 16, 2017. They have been under arrest since December 4, 2017.
The Degiorgio brothers said that the failure of the authorities to present evidence of the telephone intercepts, which were crucial to their arrest, was “highly suspicious, abusive and illegal.”
They said that throughout the “rushed” proceedings leading to the bill of indictment, the prosecution had “bragged” of telephone intercepts which had proved crucial to investigators in the buildup to the arrests.
'Two big fish'
Amongst the intercepts were calls relating to a request for a top-up voucher allegedly used in the mobile phone to trigger the bomb and others where George Degiorgio was allegedly heard speaking of having caught “two big fish” and asking his girlfriend to buy him wine to celebrate.
The testimony had generated “much sensationalism in the media which had only served to prejudice their presumption of innocence,” argued the men’s lawyer, William Cuschieri.
However, to date, no evidence of such intercepts, in the form of recordings or transcripts, had been presented in court, Dr Cuschieri pointed out, adding that the head of the Security Service had not been summoned to confirm their authenticity.
The prosecution had apparently only been interested in revealing “a small, selective part” of the alleged conversations, thereof, keeping all the rest under wraps, in spite of such intercepts being of “maximum importance” in the criminal proceedings faced by the Degiorgio brothers.
No evidence of such intercepts, in the form of recordings or transcripts, has been presented in court- Degiorgio brothers
The Police Commissioner had not only failed to prove the allegations, but had also not proven that if such intercepts did actually exist, they had been obtained legally under a ministerial warrant in terms of law.
This could only mean that either the intercepts did not actually exist, or they had been obtained illegally in relation to some other unrelated investigation and could therefore not be used in the murder case.
In the light of all this, the Degiorgios called upon the Secret Service head to present copies of the recordings and transcripts, together with the relative warrants, within 24 hours.
Failing this, the AG and the Police Commissioner would have to formally declare that they lacked proof of said telephone intercepts and would, within 48 hours, make good the “unfounded sensationalism” generated to the detriment of the protesting parties.