A lawyer for two brothers accused of murdering journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia sent copies of an FBI report to a US company in breach of the law, a court has heard.

This revelation was made in the opening minutes of Friday’s hearing on preliminary pleas to the bill of indictment against the three men accused of the car bomb explosion that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija on October 16, 2017.

Deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia informed the Court that William Cuschieri, the lawyer for George and Alfred Degiorgio, had sent parts of the records of the compilation, specifically the FBI report, to the American company that was a complete outsider to the proceedings and this “in blatant breach of the law.”

Dr Galea Farrugia pointed out that he, as prosecution, had not even passed the records on to the murdered journalist’s family. 

This argument was supported by parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi, who said that such companies charge exorbitant fees, which ran into “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

It was not detailed in court why the lawyers for the Degiorgio brothers requested the US company to investigate the FBI report.

The Court, presided over by Madam Justice Edwina Grima, said that it was for the prosecution to report this matter to the police.

As for the issue first raised by the prosecution, the Court firmly declared that “nothing from now on was to be given to anyone extraneous to the case.”

The prosecution also made a further request for the report drawn up by this American company, to be removed from the records of the case.

The Court declared that it would decide upon this request at a later stage. 

As the sitting progressed, the Court took note of the fact that the other co-accused, Vincent Muscat, had not succeeded in engaging a lawyer of choice, after turning up at the previous hearing without legal assistance.

For this reason, the Court appointed Marc Sant as legal aid lawyer for Mr Muscat. 

Once these initial issues had been dealt with, the Court proceeded to hear arguments on preliminary pleas raised by the defence and counter-arguments made by the prosecution