“I always associated Keith Schembri with some sort of involvement in the murder” – Theuma

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

This morning the compilation of evidence against the three accused of murdering journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Alfred and George De Giorgio and Vince Muscat, continued.

Brothers George (iċ-Ċiniż) and Alfred Degiorgio (il-Fulu) and Vince Muscat (il-Koħħu) were arrested in December 2017 and have been since formally indicted. They remain in prison awaiting trial.

Theuma has already testified in these proceedings when recordings of phone calls between him and the Degiorgio’s were played out in court.

Highlights from today’s court sitting:

  • Theuma said that he discussed the murder with Alfred De Giorgio and once with George but never with Vince Muscat
  • Melvin Theuma confirmed that Keith Schembri had attended for a meal at Fenech’s residence in Zebbug
  • The pardoned middleman also said that he thought Cardona could help them as he is a lawyer
  • Theuma had suggested to Fenech to go talk to the then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat but Fenech told him that would be the worst mistake he could ever do
14:26 This blog ends here. Thank you for following us.
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14:26 Melvin Theuma's testimony ends here.
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14:24 Today week the transcripts of the recordings heard today will be presented to the court.
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14:23 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi has asked Magistrate Stafrace Zammit to cross-examine the witness in another court sitting.
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14:21 The prosecution is saying that there are more recordings but thinks that at this stage the recordings heard till today are enough.

The prosecution also suggested that all the recordings can be heard during the trial by jury.
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14:18 Theuma is saying Fenech told him that the three accused could not face trial – at that time.
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14:11 More recordings are being played.
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14:05 Inspector Zahra noted that there are 10 more pages of the transcripts that the court will have to listen to today.
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14:00 Theuma said that they had promised that they would continue helping the De Giorgio's.
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13:56 Theuma mentioned a sum between €75,000 to €79,000.

He did not recall the exact sum written on the receipt.
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13:55 Theuma said that he once showed Fenech a receipt that the De Giorgio's had given him as a proof of the money they were paying to their lawyers.
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13:52 Theuma also said that he thought Cardona could help them as he is a lawyer.
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13:50 "Mario De Giorgio told me that Cardona was ignoring them" – said Theuma.
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13:45 Theuma is saying that in part of the recording he said to Yorgen Fenech that at the end of the day il-Kohhu, Vince Muscat knows only of him.
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13:41 Melvin Theuma wore the headphones to hear better the recorded conversation.
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13:38 Inspector Zahra asked the court to replay part of the recording to clarify a detail.
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13:32 More recordings are being played.
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13:30 Theuma is recalling a conversation with Fenech where Judge Mizzi was mentioned.
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13:23 Theuma had suggested to Fenech to go talk to the then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat but Fenech told him that would be the worst mistake he could ever do.
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13:20 Yorgen Fenech was ready to pay an additional €60,000 to the De Giorgio's if they were granted bail. They would then transfer the money into a bank account overseas under the name of the mother of George De Giorgio's wife.
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13:14 Fenech had also told Theuma that the person who should shoulder responsibility was himself only (Fenech).
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13:09 Melvin Theuma is saying that Yorgen Fenech told him that Vince Muscat had spoken to an inmate, who was sentenced to prison on a case in relation to drugs, about the murder and that this inmate was ready to tell the police what Muscat had confessed to him.
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13:04 Theuma is being questioned by Inspector Kurt Zahra who is asking the pardoned middleman on whom are they referring to when they say 'ix-xih'.

Melvin testified on this in previous court sittings. Today he re-explained that with the word 'ix-xih' they were referring to Joseph Muscat.
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13:01 Melvin Theuma is saying that what Yorgen Fenech explained to him could not be true because the De Giorgio's, if they get arrested, they would not mention Fenech but they would only mention him.
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12:59 In the recordings, Yorgen Fenech is being heard saying to Melvin Theuma that if they get caught he (Fenech) would get the longest prison sentence, then the De Giorgio's followed by Theuma.
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12:54 More recordings are being played.
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12:53 This conversation can be heard clearly in the recordings played.
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12:52 "Fenech also told Schembri that he had no other way out" -Theuma.
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12:50 He also mentioned again that when Fenech told Schembri he had killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, Keith Schembri was shocked.

"Keith Schembri kesah x'hin Yorgen Fenech qallu li qatilha" – Theuma referring to what Fenech told him.
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12:49 Theuma is saying that this can be heard in the recordings. He is sure of it, said Melvin.
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12:47 Theuma is saying that in the recordings there is a conversation between himself and Fenech and Fenech can be heard saying that Keith Schembri got involved to protect him (Fenech).
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12:45 Theuma is saying that Yorgen Fenech told him that Keith Schembri got involved to protect Fenech.
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12:41 The court is listening to more recordings.
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12:39 We are back in session.
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12:17 We are back in courtroom 22. Waiting for Magistrate Stafrace Zammit to re-enter.
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11:45 The court ordered a 30 minute break.
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11:36 Theuma confirmed that Keith Schembri had attended for a meal at Fenech's residence in Zebbug.
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11:28 Theuma was then told by Fenech that Keith Schembri did not have the power to arrange for the De Giorgio's to be granted bail. "He did not manage to do the necessary in the cases he (Schembri himself) is implicated let alone on the De Giorgio's case, testified Theuma.

At this point, Theuma realized he and the De Giorgio's were being betrayed.
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11:24 Theuma is saying that Yorgen Fenech told him "Issa armijhom l-hemm" – referring to the De Giorgios after the murder.

Theuma said he did not accept such statements from Fenech because he remembers the many times Fenech pressured him to talk to Alfred De Giorgio to prepare what is necessary for the murder as Fenech was worried that more information in cases he (Fenech) is implicated would be published by Daphne Caruana Galizia.
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11:15 In a conversation between Theuma and Fenech, Theuma is being heard saying that if the three accused are granted bail and are paid the €1 million and they demand more money, he would be ready to tell them no, they (De Giorgios) will not get more money as they would have been paid for the murder and for the time they were arrested.
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11:03 Yorgen Fenech gave Theuma €150,000 cash as a deposit for the murder to give to Alfred De Giorgio.
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11:01 Theuma also said that Fenech had told him that it was him that should worry and not Theuma. However, Theuma is saying that Fenech did not really mean it as De Giorgio's only knew him (Theuma).
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10:59 "I also gave De Giorgio's money from my own pocket as it was me who they knew and not Yorgen Fenech" testified Melvin Theuma.
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10:58 "Fenech forked out a lot of money for this murder to happen and he used to pay me back the money I used to give to the De Giorgio's" said Melvin Theuma.
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10:56 Theuma is saying that Camileri knew this was not true as it was Yorgen Fenech who ordered the murder and that it would also be him (Fenech) who would pay for the murder.
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10:54 Theuma is saying that with Yorgen Fenech he was arguing on how Kenneth Camilleri said that the Police had a mobile number, which belonged to Theuma in the past and told him it is the number of the person who ordered Daphne's assassination.
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10:53 Another recording is being played. A conversation between Melvin Theuma and Yorgen Fenech was recorded.

The conversation took place at Portomaso Level 21, confirmed Theuma.
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10:46 Theuma is referring to what was promised to the Degiorgios and Vince Muscat.
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10:45 "I used to tell Yorgen to tell Keith Schembri since it was Keith who sent Kenneth Camilleri" – Melvin Theuma.
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10:36 After listening to more recordings, Melvin Theuma testified that he was ready to take Mario De Giorgio to Keith Schembri's house to tell him what they (Yorgen Fenech and Kenneth Camilleri) had promised but did not deliver.

This can be heard very clearly in the recording being played in court.
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10:35 He used to visit Mario De Giorgio at his home in Zerafa street, Marsa.
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10:29 Theuma is saying that he always insisted when the 3 will be granted bail but they never happened and never received the money they were promised.

It was in my interest for this to happen, said Theuma.
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10:28 Prior to the murder, Thuema recalls he drove Yorgen Fenech to Keith Schembri's home in Mellieha.
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10:24 Yorgen Fenech confirmed with him that Kenneth Camilleri was sent by Keith Schembri – said Theuma.

"I will say it again – I never discussed anything about the murder with Keith Schembri. But I always associated him with Fenech and in some sort of involvement in the murder.
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10:22 "I never mentioned Yorgen Fenech with Alfred De Giorgio" – said Theuma.

The first time I mentioned Yorgen Fenech was when he was mentioned on the news.
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10:22 Peter and Matthew Caruana Galizia have entered the courtroom.
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10:20 He also said that he was told that Keith Schembri sent Kenneth Camilleri to talk to him (Theuma).
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10:19 Theuma said that Mario De Giorgio was furious with him as his brothers were not granted bail and did not get the €1 million.

Theuma is also saying that he continued to confirm that he is being betrayed.
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10:17 Theuma is saying that the said information was given to him by Fenech.
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10:16 "Tell your brothers that they will get the pledge on the 22nd and they will get €1 million each" – said Theuma to Mario De Giorgio.
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10:15 Theuma is saying that the agreement was for Yorgen Fenech to give the money to Theuma to pass on to Mario De Giorgio.
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10:12 Theuma said that he discussed the murder with Alfred De Giorgio and once with George but never with Vince Muscat.

For this reason, he was thinking that he (Theuma) was being betrayed.
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10:11 Theuma is saying that he used to communicate with Mario De Giorgio- the brother of George and Alfred De Giorgio.

The both used to meet at Mario's house – after the murder.
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10:11 He then received a call from Johann Cremona and then from Kenneth Camilleri. They told him what was going on.
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10:10 Theuma said that when Fenech informed him about this they argued.
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10:08 Theuma said that the started recording the conversations after Yorgen Fenech told him that il-Kohhu (Vince Muscat) started revealing details.
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10:07 Recording 005 is being played in court.
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10:03 Two of the accused can be seen holding a deep stare.

George De Giorgio is wearing a pair of sunglasses.

The three of them are staring at Melvin Theuma while he is giving his testimony.
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09:56 Recording 005 will be played in court.
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09:55 He takes the witness stand.
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09:55 Melvin Theuma is asked to enter the courtroom.
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09:52 The court has ordered the court expert to provide two more copies of the audio optimisation (of the recordings).
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09:49 Inspector Keith Arnaud said that it is almost impossible for the witness to remember all the details said in the conversations which happened around two years ago.
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09:49 Defence lawyers are objecting to this.
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09:47 Lawyers representing Melvin Theuma are also asking the court to have a copy of the recordings as well.
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09:45 The court expert is presenting one pen drive to make the recordings easier to play in court.
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09:44 The court expert said that there will be an adjustment to the recordings to eliminate or minimise background noise.
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09:43 A court expert is explaining that the recordings presented to the court are not very clear.
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09:41 Magistrate Stafrace Zammit entered the courtroom.
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09:40 The compilation of evidence continues before Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit.
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09:39 Middleman Melvin Theuma is outside courtroom 22.
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09:38 Good morning and welcome to this live blog.
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