Yorgen Fenech wants testimony concerning him to be struck from the records of a public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In a three-page court application filed on Wednesday, Fenech warned the public inquiry that it was not following its own rules and was “impeding or compromising” the ongoing case against him.
Fenech stands accused of conspiring to kill the journalist in a car bomb assassination three years ago this week. He has denied the charges.
The public inquiry meanwhile, is looking into whether the State facilitated the assassination or failed in any way to prevent it.
The application filed by Fenech’s lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran, Marion Camilleri, and Charles Mercieca, requests a copy of all testimony heard so far to be handed over by the board for Fenech to be able to defend his position against any injurious claims.
Any testimony that directly or indirectly refers to Fenech ought to be struck from the record, his lawyers say.
'The Spanish inquisition'
"With every passing day this inquiry is increasingly resembling the Spanish inquisition, with the only difference that our client is not even present," the application reads.
In the application, Fenech’s lawyers quote the public inquiry’s terms of reference which say it must operate “in such a way as not to impede or compromise any criminal investigation or prosecution or its integrity”.
Fenech’s lawyers argue that these rules are being “completely ignored” by the panel of judges presiding over the inquiry.
It urges the public inquiry to bring itself in line and to not over step Fenech’s right to the presumption of innocence.
The issues being discussed in the public inquiry, the application reads, will have an impact on the way Fenech is perceived by the citizens that will eventually have to judge him in a trial by jury.
Fenech argues that the public inquiry is trying to establish links between Fenech and the murder which should be dealt with elsewhere.
'Trial within a trial'
Comments that tarnish Fenech’s character are being made during the proceedings, his lawyers say, adding that these will also have a bearing on how he is perceived by jurors.
Fenech’s specifically highlight comments concerning intelligence received by the police that a firearm and ammunition was to be used by Fenech to murder state witness Melvin Theuma.
Last month the inquiry heard police testimony that a gun and ammunition was ordered on the dark web to Fenech's dead father's address.
In the application, he says his connection to mystery offshore company 17 Black and the Electrogas power station, were also out of place.
So too were questions about Fenech’s manner and appearance around the time of Caruana Galizia’s murder.
Ultimately, the public inquiry had become a “trial within a trial”, the application reads.
The application does not require any action but is often used as the first step in court proceedings.
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