Keith Schembri joined Yorgen Fenech in court on Friday to face charges in relation to a job given to the middleman in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case.

In a brief hearing, the former prime minister's chief of staff stood to confirm his name, age and occupation and to deny theft and misappropriation charges.

He stood with three former government officials Sandro Craus the former head of customer care at the Office of the Prime Minister; Anthony Mario Ellul, the ex-family ministry private secretary and Anthony Muscat, the former CEO of a government company. They also pleaded not guilty.

Yorgen Fenech, who is on remand for separate charges masterminding the October 2017 murder, stood behind them and also denied the theft and misappropriation charges.

When asked to provide his profession, the former businessman said he was “not working at the moment because (he is) under arrest”.

The charges relate to a job given to the middleman in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder.

Melvin Theuma, who admits to arranging the murder of the journalist and claims he did so under Fenech's orders, previously told a court he was given a job by Schembri.

He was paid for the job despite never showing up to work at the State-owned Housing Maintenance and Embellishment Co Ltd. The job was handed to him five months before the Caruana Galizia murder took place.

The court had been due to hear evidence from two police inspectors on Friday.

However, defence lawyers for the accused argued that they should be presented with a copy of a magisterial inquiry report before any testimony is heard.

Magistrate Monica Vella, presiding over the court, agreed and adjourned the case until October 7.

The prosecution, Nicholas Vella and Brian Paul Camilleri, were assisted by AG lawyer Andrea Zammit.Lawyer Stefano Filletti assisted Muscat.Lawyers Vince Micallef and Ryan Ellul assisted Ellul.Lawyers Michael and Lucio Sciriha assisted Craus.Lawyers Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo assisted Schembri.Lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca assisted Fenech. 


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Case adjourned

10.38am And with that short hearing, the case is adjourned to October 7. 


'Great reservations' about inquiry

10.34am Sciriha, the lawyer for Craus asks what evidence the prosecution has but the prosecution cannot give an exact figure as to what witnesses will testify. Schembri's lawyer intervenes to say that they have great reservations about this inquiry. “That will be revealed at a later stage.“ The defence also reserves the right to summon its own witnesses.  


Court will not hear testimony today

10.32am Inspector Nicholas Vella tells the court that the prosecution wishes to testify today. However the magistrate says that the court will not hear testimony because the accused has the right to have access to inquiry records first. 


Defence doesn't want prosecution to testify 

10.22am Keith Schembri's lawyer, Edward Gatt, and other defence lawyers ask for copies of particular documents. They want to see the records of the magisterial inquiry and do not want anyone from the prosecution to testify today. They believe there may be some evidence that would be inadmissible.


Pleas

10.18am Each provides their personal details and issues their pleas.

  • Muscat, 63 from Naxxar, pleads not guilty
  • Ellul, 62, Hamrun, pensioner, pleads not guilty
  • Craus, 52, Zabbar, manager, pleads not guilty
  • Schembri, 47, Qrendi, self-employed, pleads not guilty
  • Fenech, 40, Portomaso, “not working at the moment because under arrest,” pleads not guilty

Five stand up

10.16am All five accused stand up. They confirm the names and the names of their lawyers. Fenech is the last to stand up. He has no contact with the other four. 


Accused appear in court

10.11am We’re in hall 11. Keith Schembri, Sandro Craus, Anthony Ellul and Anthony Muscat are seated at the front bench and Fenech is sitting right behind them, next to his lawyers. All the other lawyers are grouped to the side opposite the prosecution.

Magistrate Monica Vella is presiding. 

 

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