Daphne Caruana Galizia's son was cross examined by Yorgen Fenech's lawyers in Thursday's compilation of evidence, shortly after the former bodyguard at the Office of the Prime Minister faced a grilling.
The court heard last month how Daphne Caruana Galizia was working on a massive leak of documents from the power station consortium at the time of her murder in October 2017.
Earlier, Kenneth Camilleri, a former security detail with Joseph Muscat and a friend of Keith Schembri's was also questioned on his role in the aftermath of the assassination.
Fenech is charged with conspiring to kill the journalist. He denies the charges.
Highlights from Thursday's testimony:
- Daphne Caruana Galizia and her son were working on at least 26 investigations;
- Matthew Caruana Galizia considered Yorgen Fenech 'in the top three' of suspects and he highlighted his mother's investigation into the Electrogas project as the likely cause of her murder;
- Defence lawyer says a document that the Caruana Galizia family drew up highlights 75 people as principal subjects into the investigations - Keith Schembri is mentioned nine times and former minister Chris Cardona five times;
- Defence lawyer accuses Daphne's son of playing the "victim card" sparking tension in the courtroom. Mercieca insists that Fenech never used any threats in emails;
- Kenneth Camilleri refuses to answer most of the questions put to him by defence lawyer Charles Mercieca. Among others, he refuses to say whether he was a "henchman" for Keith Schembri and how long he had known middleman Melvin Theuma.
2.15pm The testimony is suspended. The next sitting will be held on September 20.
We'll be back shortly with highlights from today's four-hour sitting.
'We're still discovering things'
2.05pm Matthew Caruana Galizia explains his mother had several notes and clippings and asked why was he expected to dump all that on the police.
"Why would I give something not relevant like my PlayStation? That’s what I meant."
The defence is now picking on the fact that some papers appear to be different - some do not have holes on the side.
"It could be a different notebook," Caruana Galizia exclaims.
Mercieca: "Did you speak to family, brothers and so on to determine what to give to police or not?"
Matthew Caruana Galizia: "Going through these things is very difficult. We would present anything that we deemed relevant to the best of our ability. And we’re still discovering things today. Whenever something new came up I informed the police. I don’t think there was any other significant investigation I added to that list (the 26 first mentioned earlier). If anything, it was a process of whittling down."
Asked about the telephone numbers listed on the notebook, he refers to Saviour Balzan, Michaela Spiteri, Keith Schembri and some others he says he cannot remember.
"My mother had asked me to get information about these."
Tension mounts in court
1.57pm The magistrate has had enough and asks what was the relevance of the questioning.
"This is a cross examination and you’re trying to attack his credibility. Is this your defence?"
The defence replies: "we're only half-way through. Did you or not give the notebook to investigators today?"
Caruana Galizia: "I didn’t give the notebook in the same way I didn’t give my PlayStation to the police."
Lawyer: "Just like your mother's laptop."
Things are getting tense in here.
Arnaud is a 'hero'
1.55pm Another document is fished out of the court records. The notes are in Daphne's handwriting.
Among them were notes about a series of phone calls between Keith Schembri and Media Today owner Saviour Balzan.
When asked, Caruana Galizia does not recall if he gave these notes to the police.
Mercieca: "Did you give a hard drive to police?"
Caruana Galizia: "Why would I give that to police! At the time (former deputy police chief) Silvio Valletta, Yorgen Fenech's friend was still on the investigation."
Mercieca: "And did you trust Arnaud?"
Caruana Galizia: "To me Arnaud is a hero. He’s the one bringing to justice the people who murdered my mother."
Mercieca: "Why didn’t you give devices to Arnaud? At the time Arnaud was subordinate to officers who were friends of Yorgen Fenech. Today these individuals are not part of police force. Did you give the devices to him, your 'hero'?"
'He wanted to throw my mother out of a window'
1.40pm Matthew Caruana Galizia sticks to his line and says that the emails were disparaging towards his mother.
"He (Yorgen Fenech) also said that he wanted to throw my mother out of a window (the alleged threat was heard in a recording)."
The magistrate directs the defence to move on.
Mercieca insists that what Matthew Caruana Galizia said about “lies” and “liar” was not reflected in the emails.
"So we’ve caught him out twice where he was wrong. His previous testimony was all based on assumptions."
Victim's son accused of playing the 'victim card'
1.32pm Caruana Galizia says there is one email with reference to banks getting nervous about the financing of Electrogas.
He says the email followed two days after his mother published a blog post about trouble brewing at Electrogas.
In one email, Yorgen Fenech refers to it as "hogwash".
Mercieca hits out: "Please let’s not insult people's intelligence! Where did Yorgen Fenech call your mother a liar? He did not even mention your mother!"
Caruana Galizia: "When looking at those emails with my mother, our conclusion was that there was a campaign to isolate my mother."
Mercieca: "Let's not play the victim card."
That remark sparks a very heated outburst by parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi.
The magistrate has had enough. Another such interruption and both lawyers will be sent out of the room and testimony suspended.
'Hogwash and lies'
1.18pm Charles Mercieca insists that there are no threatening or disparaging emails against Daphne Caruana Galizia.
"No, that's not what I said," her son rebuts.
"Threats are criminal, disparaging comments are a different matter. There’s the procedure of libel. There’s also a great difference between hogwash and lies," Mercieca says.
'Fenech never threatened Daphne'
1.10pm Caruana Galizia is called back inside.
He is asked if the whistleblower worked with Eelctrogas and had access to computers. The question is not allowed. Caruana Galizia adds that to his knowledge nobody was given whistleblower status.
Mercieca: "You went through volumes of stolen emails. Was there any one where Yorgen Fenech spoke threateningly about your mother?"
Caruana Galizia: "There was one email where an Electrogas official asked what Yorgen Fenech had done to upset my mother. I don't remember threats."
Mercieca stresses: "Because there are no messages of Yorgen Fenech speaking threateningly or disparagingly about your mother... Out of the 100,000 emails leaked, none contained threats about your mother."
Caruana Galizia: "There were emails were he called her a liar. That’s an insult and that’s disparaging. I can bring them here. Just to clarify - I did not have access to Fenech's emails."
Lawyer pushes for more information
1pm Matthew Caruana Galizia says the source was aware that he was working on the story with his mother. This happened before the 2017 general election.
Daphne Caruana Galizia showed her son a document on her phone, probably the same one she was using at the time of her murder. She always deleted messages on her phone.
Mercieca casts doubt on his testimony: "Now you are expecting us to believe that she received all that information on a phone? The court of law is not a court of probabilities. It’s a court of facts."
The witness sticks to his line - he remembers his mother showing him documents on her phone.
Mercieca asks who was aware of the (Electrogas) investigations apart from his mother and the whistleblower. The questions spark objection from the prosecution.
"I discussed it with very few people. With other journalists after the murder I think."
Matthew Caruana Galizia is once again asked to wait outside the court room.
Working on Electrogas story before election
12.50pm Mercieca asks Matthew Caruana Galizia why he hid his mother's laptop from investigators.
Mercieca: "When did you buy the hard drive?
Caruana Galizia: "It was around March. Definitely before the election."
Mercieca: "A minute ago you said you bought it in summer."
Caruana Galizia: "I'm sorry about that. I didn’t buy it immediately when my mother told me about the source. But I did buy it before the election because we were working on Electrogas before the election. When I said I bought it in summer, I made a mistake. Perhaps I copied onto another hard drive in summer."
Caruana Galizia met source early 2017
12.45pm Caruana Galizia says when his mother first met the source in the beginning of 2017 he was not present.
The source then started passing on the data.
He is asked if it was at the end of May.
"No. I remember it was winter. It was very cold, it got dark dark early. I was working with my mother at her desk upstairs. The data was received and it went directly onto the external drive. When I worked on Panama Papers it was the same thing."
Lawyer: "But where was such a large amount of data received?"
Caruana Galizia says he was using his own devices to communicate and to receive data from the source.
Questions on hard drive
12.30pm Mercieca persists: in the keywords Caruana Galizia gave to the individual "who stole data", there is no mention of Yorgen Fenech.
Caruana Galizia says he will not answer the question. Arnaud loudly says the question is irrelevant.
Mercieca says the defence has the right to put all the questions it wants.
"How did your mother receive data? There were files received digitally but going into the mechanics of it would risk revealing the source."
Mercieca: "Where was all this data being stored?"
Caruana Galizia: "I bought an external hard drive."
Mercieca says they have no interest in knowing the source but everyone is interested in knowing how this information was received.
Who caused the leak?
12.20pm Matthew Caruana Galizia is called back into the court room.
The magistrate asks him if he was aware that his mother was working with other journalists.
He says he was aware and mentions an Australian journalist as well as journalists from Times of Malta who went on to investigate.
"When the information comes to a journalist you look into it."
Defence lawyer: "So you were working with the person who stole the material? Did you give key words to a person to cause the leak?"
These questions spark objections by the prosecution.
Matthew Caruana Galizia: "I have a sense of duty towards my mother and like her would not want to do anything to endanger sources."
The defence says it is not interested in the source but asks: "Did you or not give keywords to a source to cause Electrogas leak?"
The court authorises the witness to choose not to reply. The magistrate says that witness is under cross examination and the court does not deem the question relevant to the proceedings.
Caruana Galizia asked to wait outside
12.10pm Caruana Galizia speaks about the meetings held with investigators.
"There was a period when we met once a month. When we needed, we asked for a meeting. My family and I were anxious. We wanted to know what was happening."
The magistrate asks if Daphne Caruana Galizia was obtaining information from other journalists.
Mercieca asks who she was working with on other submissions but says he does not want to make submissions in the presence of the witness.
Matthew Caruana Galizia is asked to wait outside.
The defence lawyer wants the court to ban this particular detail coming up.
Schembri, Cardona mentioned in document
12pm Mercieca said that Keith Schembri is mentioned nine times in the document and former minister Chris Cardona five times.
"Again, a strong motive no?" the lawyer asks.
He says some of the people mentioned in that list (given to the police) are family friends, who perhaps even played cards with the family.
Caruana Galizia says some of those on the list were included just for "completeness".
"Someone would have told her something and we would have just checked it out. Nothing really."
Mercieca asks Matthew Caruana Galizia whether he worked with his mother on all 26 investigations.
"No. When the investigations turned out irrelevant I didn’t work with her."
"There was one about a boat. My mum heard something, I checked it out. It was nothing. It was about Chris Cardona’s rent-free flat. She mentioned it to me shortly before the murder. I checked it out but it was nothing."
The person with full knowledge is dead
Matthew Caruana Galizia is pushed to answer whether the list of potential stories was comprehensive or whether other leads needed to be added on.
"I don’t think I did add anything. It was simply too painful. I felt there was no need. The only person who has full knowledge is dead. I cannot resuscitate her. The person who had every tiny detail was dead."
Mercieca says the document highlights 75 people as principal subjects.
"It’s a sliding scale and Yorgen Fenech is in the top three," Caruana Galizia replies.
Electrogas was 'number one motive'
11.45am The case continues.
Matthew Caruana Galizia is once again asked how many cases was his mother working on. He says it is humanly impossible to decipher.
"The significant ones I know of but the ones of lesser importance I wouldn’t know."
The defence lawyer asks if he recognises a particular document.
"Yes, it’s a letter signed by my father."
The document was drawn up in June 2018 during a meeting with investigators when a list of stories Daphne Caruana Galizia was drawn up.
Mercieca: "In that document you said there were 26 investigations, more than a couple, I would say."
Caruana Galizia: "Those were investigations denoting a motive. The question is based on an assumption. I cannot answer yes or no to an assumption. I wish the question to be reformulated."
He says the first item on that list was the Electrogas project.
"I prioritised. That was the number one motive. I drafted the document with my family. I was the one working closely with my mother. It was an extremely painful process."
Mercieca interrupts, and Jason Azzopardi hits back: "let him answer."
Caruana Galizia takes the stand
11.25am Camilleri walks off the witness stand to be replaced by Matthew Caruana Galizia.
Mercieca continues with the questioning: "How many investigations was your mother working on?"
Caruana Galizia explains that journalists work differently from police and there is no case file.
"It’s very fluid. Potential sources suggest things. Some are discarded. Others are followed up. There were several threads. Most significant was Electrogas and the power station."
Mercieca: "But the question was how many investigations?"
Magistrate: "Are you in a position to reply?"
Caruana Galizia: "I cannot really say how many she was working on."
Mercieca makes reference to a particular portfolio of the records. Until that folio is found, the testimony is suspended.
'What did Melvin Theuma tell you?'
11.25am The defence lawyers continue throwing questions at Camilleri, the former OPM security detail.
"How often did you communicate with investigators?"
Camilleri finally speaks out: "I don’t recall how many times. Several times."
Mercieca: "Not only these investigators. And you always told them that you don’t know Yorgen Fenech?"
Camilleri refuses to reply.
Mercieca: "You told investigators that you don’t even recognise him (Fenech)."
Camilleri: "I choose not to reply."
Mercieca: "How often did you speak to Jason Azzopardi before testifying behind closed doors?" The question is deemed not admissible.
Mercieca: "What did Melvin Theuma tell you when he met you outside his home when you went acting as Keith Schembri's henchman? How often did you meet Theuma?"
Camilleri does not reply.
Some background: A former security detail to Joseph Muscat, Kenneth Camilleri is known to be a close friend of former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri. Melvin Theuma had testified that Camilleri had visited him to calm him down after the murder was carried out. Theuma said he believed that Camilleri had been sent by Keith Schembri to calm him down.
11.15am Mercieca cites a provision in the criminal code that allows him to minute all the questions he intended to put to the witness.
Since the witness gave very limited answers, the magistrate says that questions can only be put if he is summoned as defence’s witness.
Mercieca: "We didn't ask for that decree."
"It’s the court that decides on procedure," the magistrate sharply raps.
Mercieca starts asking his questions but Arnaud asks the court to ban the publication of these questions.
"Gagging orders now?" Mercieca protests.
The lawyer fires off the questions: "Did you testify behind closed doors at inquiry because what you said you wanted to hide something?"
"Were you scared of someone? Did you speak to Jason Azzopardi?"
"Did your testimony confirm what Yorgen Fenech told investigators about Keith Schembri? So you testified behind closed doors to protect someone else?"
"You wanted to explain what happened when you went to meet Melvin Theuma? What did Keith Schembri tell you to promise? That you were the henchman of Keith Schembri? That you didn’t tell this to investigators? That you also hid this from investigators?"
11.05am The legal ping pong continues. Defence lawyer Mercieca says he has right to ask questions which the prosecution will not put.
He adds that what Kenneth Camilleri said in court is different to what he told police elsewhere.
Arnaud rebuts and says that Mercieca cannot ask about Degiorgios when he had only asked Camilleri about Melvin Theuma.
Mercieca asks Camilleri if he chose to testify elsewhere - he chooses not to answer, sparking a vociferous objection by the defence team.
Magistrate says he can say whether he has testified.
Camilleri replies that he testified at the Caruana Galizia public inquiry.
"How many times?"
Camilleri: "I choose not to reply."
Question leads to verbal spat
11am Camilleri's refusal to answer puts Arnaud with back against the wall. His subsequent questions were to depend on these introductory ones.
And so Arnaud suspends the questioning.
Defence wish to put questions too and the magistrate allows cross examination.
Camilleri says he retired from the police force in January 2019 after completing his service.
Lawyer Charles Mercieca: "Did you have anything to do with any of the parties in this case? The Degiorgios, Melvin Theuma, Yorgen Fenech?"
Mercieca: "You had told police that you carried out investigative work about the Degiorgios."
This question sparks verbal spat between prosecution and defence.
Defence also object to the fact that Camilleri got a comment from his lawyer.
Camilleri chooses to remain silent on Theuma
10.55am The magistrate explains that he has a right not to answer questions that could incriminate him.
Camilleri says that in 2017 he worked at the Office of the Prime Minister as a constable. He had been in police force for 18 years. He was detailed specifically with Joseph Muscat, accompanying him everywhere.
Arnaud: "Where did you get to know Melvin Theuma?"
Camilleri: "I choose not to testify about this."
Mercieca: "He's not saying where he got to know a criminal."
Magistrate: "That comment is superfluous."
Arnaud: "How long have you known him?"
Camilleri: "I choose not to reply."
Defence lawyer Marion Camilleri says the witness has no option but to answer such questions.
But the magistrate says that he has right to refuse, even in light of comment passed by Mercieca.
10.48am Defence lawyer Charles Mercieca says he is dumbfounded that nothing has changed about Camilleri's status since he testified in June 2020.
Arnaud says there is a magisterial inquiry ongoing.
The magistrate takes note of their comment.
Kenneth Camilleri to testify
10.45am Next witness is Kenneth Camilleri, the former security detail at the Office of the Prime Minister.
But before he comes in, Arnaud explains that his position remains unchanged. The subject on which he is to testify is still subject to investigation.
Magistrate asks if there is any decision to take criminal action against him.
"On the murder as such, no," Arnaud replies.
"So since these proceedings are about the murder, he can testify," the magistrate says.
Arrest at Żebbuġ
10.40am Magistrate Montebello takes her place. First up on the witness stand is homicide inspector Kurt Zahra who simply presents Fenech's birth certificate.
Inspector Matthew Bondin is next. In December 2017, while serving at the Drug Squad, he was tasked to arrest Anton Cachia at Żebbug.
Around 8.15am, Cachia drove up in a white van to a garage which was being used by Robert and Adrian Agius.
Adrian Agius drove past in a black car and when he drove by a second time, he was arrested upon instructions of Inspector Keith Arnaud.
The garage was searched.
The Agius brothers, known as Tal-Maksar, are suspected of having procured the bomb which killed Caruna Galizia.
Fenech chats with lawyers
10.33am Yorgen Fenech enters the court room and takes his seat in the dock and turns towards his family.
His lawyers take their place right in front of the dock. Lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca have a chat with him.
Parties enter court room
10.22am The hall is crowded more than the norm. Caruana Galizia's relatives are in the room as are other relatives and friends of the accused.
The defence and parte civile lawyers have entered the room. The magistrate and Fenech are not yet present.
It could be a long day in court.
Waiting in court
10am Today's hearing will take place in Hall 22. Last Tuesday, Fenech appealed a judgment which had rejected his attempt to block the use of information he had given the police for the purpose of obtaining a presidential pardon.
Highlights from Matthew Caruana Galizia's July 27 testimony:
- Months before he was exposed as the owner of secret company 17 Black, Fenech told his wife in an email that “17 was one whole stress” and that “Electrogas was one huge mistake”.
- The business mogul had friends in high places and was part of a WhatsApp chat group with former deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta that was called ‘No Valletta, no party’.
- One email showed an Electrogas director asking Fenech to liaise with Keith Schembri, referring to him as “Special K”.
- Caruana Galizia’s testimony was punctuated by objections from Fenech’s defence team, who accused him of playing to the media gallery and reaching “gratuitous conclusions”.
Who are the main players?
Yorgen Fenech: the businessman accused of complicity in Caruana Galizia's murder;
Melvin Theuma: the self-confessed middleman in the murder;
Vince Muscat: a confessed hitman in the murder who says Alfred and George Degiorgio were also involved.
Keith Arnaud, Kurt Zahra: the lead police investigators;
Rachel Montebello: the presiding magistrate;
Gianluca Caruana Curran, Marion Camilleri, Charles Mercieca: the lawyers appearing on Fenech’s behalf;
Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia: the lawyers appearing for the Caruana Galizia family.
Anthony Vella: representing the AG’s office and assisting the prosecution.
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