Murder suspect Yorgen Fenech was taken to court on Thursday to file a constitutional case against the authorities, including the chief investigator in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case.
The court was opened with urgency as Mr Fenech, who was accompanied by his lawyers and a police, escort had to be present in court to take an oath in connection with the case.
Mr Fenech earlier asked the police commissioner to remove chief homicide inspector Keith Arnaud from the investigation arguing that he has close ties with the Prime Minister’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri.
The claim was strongly dismissed by the police who said Insp. Arnaud has already delivered results in the murder probe and pointed out that Europol were also involved in the process.
The court application was filed against the police commission, the attorney general, the Home Affairs Minister and Mr Arnaud.
Mr Fenech said he did not feel it was right that Mr Arnaud continued to investigate the case for a number of reasons. He said that according to information he had received from Mr Schembri, Mr Arnaud had asked him for help to find his wife a job. In fact, she was employed with Infrastructure Malta “upon Mr Schembri’s specific instructions”.
Moreover, he had a conflict of interest as he was continuously keeping the former chief of staff informed with all developments in the case. He said the police had recording of calls between him and middleman Melvin Theuma in which he was passing on information he had received directly from Mr Schembri, who had told him that the information came from Mr Arnaud.
Mr Fenech said he had been given a detailed account of the arrest of the three men accused of murdering Ms Caruana Galizia.
He said the inspector had failed to summon Mr Schembri, despite various recordings and other evidence that he already had in his possession. It was only after he informally gave him information implicating Mr Schembri that Mr Arnaud was “forced” to call him in for questioning. Mr Fenech said so much time had passed before he was called in for questioning that Mr Schembri had the time to go to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s house. Moreover, no search was carried out in Mr Schembri’s office.
Mr Fenech said Mr Schembri had gone to lengths to “undermine and tamper with” the investigation. Mr Arnaud’s presence as head of the investigation was in breach of his fundamental right to a fair hearing, he argued.
He called on the Constitutional Court to take measures to ensure that Mr Arnaud does not continue investigating the murder case as he was not independent and impartial and for all decisions he had taken so far to be reviewed by the new person substituting him as lead investigator.
Lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Marion Camilleri signed the application.