A journalist admitted in court yesterday she was so worried about messages she received after writing an article in 1993 saying that unless Maurice Calleja stepped down as commander of the armed forces he would be made to resign that she penned a column the following Sunday "both out of pity for him and out of fear".

Testifying in the jury of Meinrad Calleja, who stands charged with complicity in the attempted murder of Richard Cachia Caruana on December 18, 1994, Daphne Caruana Galizia said that although the article was unsigned, people in the area of Sliema knew it was her article.

"With the exception of (accused's) brother Patrick, I could feel animosity towards me from Calleja's family. This then spread to my family too," she said. She once heard Calleja's wife saying "that bitch is going to get it".

Caruana Galizia said she was very scared that something might happen to her.

She recalled the late Tony Mallia had phoned to tell her to be careful because an army soldier was tracking her movements.

When Maurice Calleja's daughter, Clarissa, was caught with a kilo of drugs on December 1 or 2, 1993, she "was not surprised and many people felt Brigadier Calleja should have resigned as he had two children who were allegedly involved in drugs".

Maurice Calleja had said on the record he was unaware his son was being investigated.

She wrote an item which she passed on to The Sunday Times and asked the editor, Lawrence Grech, to phone the brigadier as she felt uncomfortable phoning him because he was a friend of the family.

She said Grech phoned Maurice Calleja in her presence and informed him they had a news item about him and wanted to speak to him about it. He went to speak to him straightaway.

Caruana Galizia said that later in the day she met Grech again after he returned and told her that Maurice Calleja had told him he was determined not to resign.

She then called the prime minister's personal assistant, who had earlier told her that Maurice Calleja was going to resign, and told him the commander was determined not to resign as he had consulted Guido de Marco who told him he had done nothing wrong and so he should not resign.

"Cachia Caruana said it was unbelievable that while the prime minister is telling him to go on his own steam, the deputy prime minister was telling him not to resign," Caruana Galizia said.

She said she had then quoted the prime minister's personal assistant as a government spokesman saying that unless the commander resigned of his own accord he would be forced to go.

Caruana Galizia said that after the article she started receiving messages from mutual friends advising her to be careful as the accused would pay her back.

A year later, Adrian Strickland's door in Zejtun was burnt. After Maurice Mizzi's car was burnt, she immediately concluded the attack was meant against her. A dog she had went missing and the prime minister's personal assistant was stabbed.

She said she went to Germany for a week as she did not want to be in Malta on the anniversary of the article as she felt it was her turn.

She described having a premonition that something was going to happen on December 21, when the front door of her house was burnt. She said whoever did it could have burnt their cars or any of the other six doors they had but they burnt the main door as a warning, "as a symbol as the Mafia do".

Caruana Galizia said she never suffered any vindictive acts apart from the one in question.

In the afternoon, Adrian Strickland testified about how the door of his house had been set on fire on the night of December 1, 1994. The door was burnt exactly a year after the victim had phoned him to ask his father-in-law, George Micallef, to speak to Maurice Calleja to encourage him to resign.

Journalist Joe Mifsud testified that in July 1995 he had received an anonymous envelope with photos and details about a bank account Tony Mallia had in London.

He had investigated the information as Mallia was then a public official and when the latter told him he had gone to the UK regarding an eye operation, Mifsud concluded it was a humanitarian case that did not need any investigation and had gone to give Mallia the envelope and its contents.

Some of the photos had some handwriting on the back and they started discussing who could have been who sent the photos and a lot of people were mentioned about whom Mallia had written.

Meinrad Calleja's name was among those mentioned and as Mallia too had received an anonymous letter they spoke about how the calligraphy could be identified.

Mifsud said then Police Commissioner George Grech had called him and told him that Mallia had passed on the photos to him and that the calligraphy belonged to the accused.

The case continues.

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