Yorgen Fenech’s request for the presentation of vital evidence by the prosecution in the ongoing Daphne Caruana Galizia murder compilation, has been upheld, within legal limits and subject to fundamental rights considerations.
The decision was delivered by Magistrate Rachel Montebello on Friday, after lengthy submissions by both sides during Thursday’s compilation of evidence sitting against the businessman, who stands accused as accomplice in the journalist’s assassination in October 2017.
Thursday’s session had, in fact, revolved around Fenech’s latest request for presentation of the proces-verbal of the murder inquiry, call profile and geolocation data of a number of persons as well as audio-visual statements recorded during police interrogations.
The court observed that, as rightly argued by the Attorney General, the law did not grant the accused an unlimited right to request evidence at the compilation stage, adding that evidence could be legally inadmissible or could pose a possible breach of fundamental rights of the persons concerned.
For this reason, the preservation and processing of such call profile and geolocation data had to be carried out in a just and transparent manner and only, as a proportional and necessary measure, so as to safeguard the legitimate interests of the persons concerned.
Fenech’s request for all such data, over the past 12 months, had been phrased without any limitations and thus, could seriously interfere in the privacy of those indicated therein, many of whom were not named in open court.
Among those mentioned by Fenech’s lawyers were persons who did not appear to be linked to the murder, nor were considered suspects.
Therefore, that part of the request would have to be redefined so that it is limited to data that is strictly necessary so as to justify such serious invasion of a person’s privacy.
As for the proces-verbal of the murder inquiry, the court observed that the Attorney General had declared on Thursday that the document would be presented at the next sitting on October 6.
Since that document contained references to other bombings unrelated to Fenech’s case, it would be up to the court to decide whether copies would be made available to the parties.
Finally, audio-visual statements by third parties during investigations were also to be presented in the compilation records so that the accused would not be denied his right to control witnesses, scrutinising their evidence in court against earlier statements to the police.
It would then be up to the judge who would preside over the trial to decide upon the admissibility or otherwise of those statements and whether they were to be put forward as evidence at the jury.
Lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran, Marion Camilleri and Charles Mercieca are assisting the accused.
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