The police should not expect to get direction, let alone “benediction” from the prime minister, Chris Fearne said on Saturday.

The deputy prime minister, who is the favourite to succeed Joseph Muscat as prime minister, was asked if he believed Keith Schembri should be investigated right away in the wake of incriminating testimony given by the man accused of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.

Mr Fearne insisted he will make sure justice is served under his watch, if elected to Castille.

“The police should do what their oath of office says, fully and without fear or favour and in every single case and with no exception.

“Should I be elected, this is going to be a cardinal principle from which I will not budge,” Mr Fearne said. The deputy prime minister was contacted after suspect Yorgen Fenech said in court that the former chief of the staff of the prime minister had kept him informed of police investigations and even tried to relay him notes while under investigation.  

I will not embark on witch-hunts just for the sake of appearances

Mr Schembri was again called in for police questioning on Saturday in connection with a phantom job given to murder middleman Melvin Theuma but there is still no indication he will be prosecuted, sparking widespread anger.

Asked if he would order an investigation into Mr Schembri’s work at the Office of the Prime Minister, should he succeed Joseph Muscat, Mr Fearne replied:

RELATED STORIES

“I will do all that is expected of me as the prime minister of a democratic, European and modern state. I will not embark on witch-hunts just for the sake of appearances. But I will give my utmost to uncover the truth, for justice to be done and for the country to find itself its serenity again. I hardly need to say that the law is the same for everyone.”

Mr Fearne did not answer directly when asked if he was convinced the probe into Ms Caruana Galizia’s death was carried out free from political interference.

He said political interference in criminal investigations is itself a crime of heinous proportions.

“Consequently, I would expect the police and other institutions of the State to do their duty, to thoroughly investigate every single case without exception.

“Then and only then would I take all the decisions necessary, if I am elected,” he said.

Meanwhile, party sources said a PL executive meeting scheduled for Monday is expected to cancel Mr Schembri’s party membership. Mr Schembri has hardly commented since he was first linked to the murder probe.