Yorgen Fenech acted prematurely in trying to block police testimony about information he gave them in the hope of getting a presidential pardon, a court has ruled.

Fenech has been accused of complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. His request for a pardon in exchange for information, was denied by the government.

He had subsequently filed constitutional proceedings, claiming that his right to a fair hearing had been breached as he had provided the information "solely" for the purpose of being granted a pardon.

His lawyers stressed that Fenech had not been cautioned when supplying that confidential information to the prosecuting officers.

Those officers were subsequently called to testify by Caruana Galizia family lawyers about that information in murder proceedings conducted by the magistrates’ court. 

The presiding magistrate had upheld that request and the prosecutors had testified behind closed doors. 

By declaring that evidence admissable, Fenech's fundamental rights had been breached, his lawyers argued. 

Court rejects claim

However, the First Hall, Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction rejected that claim, saying that to uphold it at this stage would effectively deny the criminal court its responsibility on deciding upon the admissibility or otherwise of evidence. 

In this case, the magistrates’ court was gathering and preserving evidence, not deciding upon the issue of guilt or otherwise, observed Madam Justice Anna Felice. 

Moreover, the applicant had other ordinary remedies such as raising a preliminary plea on the matter once he is placed under a bill of indictment or even addressing the jurors at the upcoming trial.

Citing case law on the subject, the court declared that it was not in a position to evaluate how the things Fenech claimed would impinge upon the final verdict.

At this stage, the court could not evaluate the case in its entirety and therefore the alleged breach of rights was to be addressed by the Criminal Court at the opportune time, concluded the judge. 

Fenech’s claim was premature and ordinary remedies had not been exhausted, the court declared. 

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