A lawyer representing two of the men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia on Wednesday slammed some of the language used in the bill of indictment against his clients, calling it the result of a “fertile imagination”.
William Cuschieri, who is representing Degiorgio brothers George and Alfred, told a court that some of the expressions used in the bill “dramatised the situation”.
“There are various loaded expressions which, taken in context, signify a lot,” argued Dr Cuschieri when preliminary pleas on the trial of the three murder suspects resumed.
A bill of indictment is a formal legal document accusing specific people of a criminal act and leads to them standing trial for their alleged crimes.
The lawyer went on to single out certain expressions used by the Attorney General when describing the circumstances of the journalist’s assassination.
Unless personally present on site at the time of the explosion, how could one say that “the explosion rocked the Bidnija area? Dr Cuschieri asked.
As for the expression that “various parts of her body were flung out of the car,” the lawyer attributed such description to a “fertile imagination.”
Referring to the accused’s boat as a “cabin cruiser” also gave an impression of luxury which, added to the idea of luxury imprinted by the media upon the minds of the public at large.
Such loaded expressions all worked to the detriment of the accused, argued the lawyer.
“If it’s a boat, let’s call it a boat. If it’s a cabin cruiser, call it a cabin cruiser. Nothing more, nothing less.”
One of the accused [George Degiorgio] “had received the news that he had been anxious to hear all morning,” the bill of indictment stated.
“Where did this result from?” questioned Dr Cuschieri, pointing out other expressions, apparently not supported by evidence recorded in the acts of the case.
“Such narrative was not correct,” he said.
Another ground for objection related to the voluminous data gathered from service providers who had been asked by investigators to “indiscriminately” hand over data relating to cell towers, localization and coverage maps.
Dr Cuschieri also noted that Alfred Degiorgio had filed a separate constitutional case claiming that such evidence-gathering exercise breached his fundamental rights.
As for the foreign police officers from FBI, Europol and the Netherlands Forensic Institute who had testified in the murder proceedings, Dr Cuschieri pointed out that these had not merely stated facts but had “gone further.”
For this reason, the lawyer was requesting that all those excerpts of testimonies where such foreign experts had expressed an opinion, were to be removed from the records of the case.
The records of the compilation of evidence against George and Alfred Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, the three men accused with having allegedly planted the bomb that killed the journalist on October 16, 2017, had been sent back to the Magistrates’ Court for fresh evidence to be heard.
In fact, alleged middleman Melvin Theuma, had testified before Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit, before the records were once again sent back to the Criminal Court, presided over by Madam Justice Edwina Grima for further preliminary pleas to be heard.
By the end of Wednesday’s hearing, over 100 pleas had been debated.
Deputy AG Philip Galea Farrugia appeared on behalf of the prosecution. Lawyer Jason Azzopardi appeared on behalf of the victim’s family. Lawyer William Cuschieri assisted the Degiorgios. Lawyer Marc Sant assisted Vincent Muscat as legal aid counsel.