Two of the alleged hitmen in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia have had all preliminary pleas to the upcoming trial rejected, save for one that was partly upheld on appeal. 

Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio had appealed a decision delivered by Madam Justice Edwina Grima last October rejecting over 100 pre-trial pleas put forward by defence lawyer William Cuschieri.

The accused appealed that 209-page judgment, citing 52 grounds and making further submissions before the court of appeal, presided over by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and Mr Justices Joseph R. Micallef and Giovanni Grixti. 

In another 209-page judgment on Wednesday, that court once again rejected the Degiorgios’ pleas except for one argument concerning testimony given by lead prosecutor Superintendent Keith Arnaud.

The accused had objected to that part of Arnaud’s testimony which referred to information obtained through phone intercepts carried out by the security services. 

When testifying in the compilation of evidence stage, Arnaud had referred to that information without exhibiting the warrant authorising the relative phone taps as well as subsequent recordings and transcripts thereof. 

Arnaud had identified the speaker in those intercepted calls as George Degiorgio. 

The Degiorgios’ objection to that reference was upheld on appeal and the court ordered the removal of that part of Arnaud’s testimony from the records of the case.

No reference to such information is to be made by the police officer when testifying at the upcoming murder trial. 

The rest of the judgment delivered by Madam Justice Grima, presiding over the Criminal Court, was confirmed on appeal. 

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