Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder suspects were back in court on Monday as the compilation of evidence against them resumed.
3.15pm: Magistrate has scheduled the next court sittings for October 11 and 12.
2.50pm: Five hours later, and the sitting drags on as boxes with evidence are resealed and moved to the magistrate's chambers.
2.05pm: Defence lawyer objects to pictures in evidence bags downloaded by foreign Europol expert, saying these are "extraneous" to the actual evidence.
"Are we going to question the expert's method of work now?" Inspector Arnaud remarks.
1.30pm: Magistrate tells the experts to break the seals of boxes of evidence while the court waits for the accused to return after a break. There are piles of them lining up the courtroom.
1.10pm: Three forensic lab experts take the witness stand. They retrieved most of the important evidence, which is present in the court room.
1pm: Almost three hours into testimonies now. If you're just catching up, the court is listening to a number of witnesses involved in the investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The defence lawyers have repeatedly raised a number of objections to witnesses' testimonies, mainly based on procedural issues.
12.55pm: Defence lawyer William Cuschieri raises another issue, namely that Dutch expert Doris Eerhart was not appointed by court, therefore she was extraneous to the inquiry and not authorised by court. Lawyer insists her report on the phone was to be removed from the inquiry records.
Parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi objects to this request for removal. Such a request should not be put forward during the compilation of evidence but before the Criminal Court as a preliminary plea.
Secondly, such request for removal is frivolous. There was no expertise needed to transfer the exhibit. Allowing this request would lead to an absurd situation. Even loaders, pilot and crew would have to be appointed by the court, Azzopardi says.
But defence lawyer Martin Fenech hits back insisting that persons not appointed by court should not have been allowed to handle any evidence.
Magistrate declares that she cannot provide for this since this is a court tasked with gathering evidence. Hence, the request for removal of document was turned down.
12.35pm: Court hears that a burnt mobile phone had been mailed back to Malta via DHL after it was inspected by the Netherlands Forensic Institute in November.
12.32pm: Cuschieri asks the witness whether the suspects had been made aware that they were being tested in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Witness says he does not recall any mention of this while he was present.
12.30pm: Cuschieri asks whether the buccal swabs of the suspects were taken before the interrogation. He says the reason for oral swabs had not been explained to the suspects. Witness stresses that the procedure had been explained by Assistant Commissioner Dennis Theuma in the presence of the inquiring magistrate.
Forensic expert earlier said he he was tasked on December 5, 2017 to take DNA swabs of suspects Alfred and George Degiorgio. Alfred Degiorgio gave consent and his oral swab was taken. George Degiorgio had been ushered - he granted consent but did not sign the form.
Photos of sealed samples were also presented in court.
12.20pm: Next witness says he had been tasked to take certain exhibits to the Europol offices based in the Hague last March. A total of 93 exhibits, including a burnt metal tank found in Marsa, were sealed in evidence bags, and transported.
12.05pm: The case resumes. First two witnesses will take stand jointly, one from the forensic lab, the other from the Explosives Ordnance Unit. They were tasked with transporting samples from the crime scene to the laboratory in Netherlands.
11.40: As magistrate calls out a break, scene of crime officers are piling in labelled and sealed boxes into the courtroom. There are also numerous plastic bags, which appear to contain exhibits.
The mobile phone antenna
11.34am: The GO plc witness says "localisation" is always a prediction and one can never prove 100% that the caller was in the area. If there is some obstruction or the tower is momentarily not functioning, the phone might link to the nearest tower.
Defence lawyer drives home the statement that phone localisation does not necessarily prove that phone fell within coverage of a particular tower.
He asks witness who identified the cell towers. Witness replies it was the police who pointed out the area and then mobile expert selected the towers.
11.15am: A witness from GO plc presents cell tower data covering the Bidnija area. he also presented maps of cell IDs requested by investigators.
11am: The cell tower data records all mobile activity registered by antenna. Defence lawyer William Cuschieri asks the witness, a legal counsel at Melita, whether he's qualified. The representative replies: "I'm personally not... but this data was recovered by an expert."
10.55am: Court moves on from the Maya boat footage as a representative of mobile service provider presents cell tower data taken from Bidnija on October 16, the day Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered.
10.52am: As technical issues are sorted out in the courtroom, the three accused sit passively observing proceedings.
The footage of the Maya
10.45am: Court expert Keith Cutajar says that he took footage of the port on October 16 between 8am and 5pm. Under oath, he presents five forensic copies of drives formerly presented by Europol experts. Defence lawyer Martin Fenech objects to Europol, and hits back at prosecution: "they’re part of your team".
10.40am: The magistrate appoints two experts to conduct comparative analysis of footage taken on November 23. Inspector Arnaud says the name of boat is “crystal clear” and suspect George Degiorgio is seen steering boat all the way to potato shed.
10.30am: Tense moments in the chamber as defence lawyers argue over whether the court should be given footage of all boats entering port, and not just the Maya.
10.22am: Arnaud explains that on day of explosion, there was footage of the suspect boat entering port. The court had heard that the boat - the Maya - registered to Alfred Degiorgio - was seen leaving the Grand Harbour at 7.59am on the day of the murder. It returned to Marsa at 2.47pm.
10.15am: Court expert Keith Cutajar is testifying in connection with the Maya to determine whether the seized boat is the same one as that seen in footage.
The court is in possession of two films - showing the boat on October 16, the day of the explosion from where the signal is believed to have been given - and the November footage downloaded by a court expert from Transport Malta.
Defence lawyer William Cuschieri is objecting and says the expert is not competent witness to state whether it is same vessel.
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi butts saying: “we’re making a great muddle of procedural law.”
9.55am: The accused, Ms Caruana Galizia's family and witnesses gather in court. Phone service providers, court experts and scene of crime officers are expected to testify. Five officers in the court room are wearing bullet-proof vests.
What we know so far:
Ms Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb blast on October 16, close to her home in Bidnija.
In December, police arrested 10 men in connection with her murder.
Three of those - Degiorgio brother Alfred and George, and Vincent Muscat - were charged with her murder. The others were released on police bail without charge.
After a couple of false starts, the compilation of evidence got underway with magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit presiding.
So far, she has heard how police:
- The bomb - between 300gr and 400gr of TNT - was an improvised explosive device clearly intended to kill the journalist.
- Forensic experts say there was metal shrapnel embedded in Daphne Caruana Galizia's body.
- National security information system unit officer explained how information was collated from the various calls, determining the time and location they were made.
- Used the FBI's help to home in on suspicious phone numbers. One was linked to a remote-controlled device and went active at 2am in Bidnija on the day of Ms Caruana Galzia's murder. It received an SMS at the time the bomb went off and immediately went off-radar.
- Believe that the phone which sent the bomb detonation SMS was an old Nokia 105. Police found several Nokia 105 phones at the Marsa shed they arrested the suspects at.
- Triangulated cell tower data to work out that the killer SMS was sent from out at sea. George Degiorgio was seen going fishing on that day, and shortly after the bomb went off texted his partner "buy me wine, my love."
- Received reports of a suspicious car regularly parked by tat-Tarġa Battery - an ideal vantage point for the killers - in the days leading to the murder. The car was subsequently never seen there again.
- Found a "fresh-looking" cigarette butt with Alfred Degiorgio's DNA on it under a tree at the tat-Tarġa vantage point.
The key courtroom players:
Martin Fenech is appearing for Vince Muscat, known as il-Koħħu, 55.
William Cuschieri and Martha Muscat are appearing for Alfred Degiorgio, known as il-Fulu, 53.
Josette Sultana is appearing for Alfred's brother George Degiorgio, known as iċ-Ċiniz 55.
Philip Galea Farrugia from the attorney general's office and inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are appearing for the prosecution.
Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile.
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