The compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, accused of complicity in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, continues today.
That's it from our end for today. Thanks for following Newsbook's live blog. A summary of the main points will be uploaded shortly.
The magistrate orders the journalists to leave her courtroom. The proceedings continue behind closed doors
Jason Azzopardi says he won't be taking any responsibility if any public hearing of a recording were to result in bloodshed. "He's pinning it on us," protests the defence.
Mercieca highlights that the prosecution failed to highlight which part of the recording it finds problematic
The magistrate takes note of the defence's arguments
Inspector Arnaud says they heard over a hundred recordings and spoke to various people
The defence reminds the court that the police haven't prosecuted anyone else in the meantime
Mercieca says that Yorgen Fenech deserves a fair and public hearing
Mercieca on behalf of the defence says that there are no new names which haven't been heard yet – bar one. He says that its incredible how a presidential pardon was granted to Melvin Theuma who submitted these recordings months ago yet the police is only starting to investigate some of them now.
Magisrate Montebello says that in light of the ongoing investigations and the mentioning of third parties and circumstances relating to them, the recording should be heard behind closed doors.
The defence points out that the police have had these recordings for 9 months
Keith Arnaud says that one name hasn’t been mentioned yet. He doesn’t want the upcoming recording to be heard in open court. He says that the police hasn’t investigated its contents yet.
The magistrate enters the room
Mercieca and the prosecution exchange some words, "at the end of the day I want the truth" says an inspector
The prosecution team is still huddled around its papers
Journalists are allowed to stay in the room as the prosecution rapidly scans pages of transcripts handed to it by the defence
The Magistrate suspends the sitting for 5 minutes until the defense and prosecution agree on what recording can be played in court
The court is ready to listen to 'Recording 9'
The court is willing to listen to a recording as long as it doesn't interfere with ongoing investigations
Mercieca says he discussed some tapes with Inspector Arnaud – one of them 'contains some names'
Fenech fiddles with his visor as the different legal teams discuss the playing of recordings
Both Yorgen Fenech and Magistrate Montebello enter the court room
Journalists are allowed back in the court room however no proceedings are currently ongoing
Thank you Amy! Journalists are still waiting to be let back in.
Yorgen Fenech's defence team had informed the court that the recording to be played was around 27 minutes long. This was about an hour and 30 mins ago.
The court is still hearing the recordings.
The press is still waiting outside.
For the recordings to be heard is taking longer than expected.
Lawrence Cutajar is waiting outside the courtroom too.
The recording played in court is around 27 minutes long.
We are still waiting outside the courtroom.
The press and members of the public were asked to leave the courtroom.
Both parties have agreed that the recording will be heard behind closed doors.
Magistrate Montebello suspended the courtroom for a few minutes until the lawyers agree on the tapes to be played.
The court now has to decide if the recordings will be heard today.
Cutajar's testimony is suspended for a few minutes. He was also advised not to consult the media while waiting outside the courtroom.
Mercieca asked if tape 2 voice 2 could be played in court.
"Have you ever received money from Brincat?"
Magistrate Montebello warns the witness to address the court and not the lawyer and to not pass any comments.
Mercieca is asking again about Cutajar's connections with Il-Gojja.
"Whoever says someone received money in exchange for the presidential pardon, is bluffing or lying." – said Cutajar.
Magistrate Montebello said that the defence should move on to the next question.
Mercieca asked him to list the 1st 6 conditions.
Lawyer Mercieca made reference to the Presidential Pardon conditions.
Cutajar continued saying that Brincat knew he was chasing him for information on Theuma.
He had messaged Brincat "Shall we meet?"
"My role in the investigation was minimal" – stated Lawrence Cutajar.
"Melvin Theuma had no intention of destroying the recordings"- said Cutajar.
This happened at around November last year.
Lawrence Cutajar said that he had asked Brincat to if he had Theuma's tapes.
To not grant him the pardon and to continue investigating Theuma just in case there was no pertinent information on the murder.
Or to grant him the pardon and then the police would not be able to accuse Theuma on money laundering.
Cutajar said that the Police had two options when faced with a presidential pardon;
Asked if he knew if Theuma was a friend of Brincat, Cutajar said there were times they saw them together.
"I have known Brincat since the '90s" – confirmed Lawrence Cutajar.
Mercieca asked Cutajar about his connections with Edwin Brincat.
"He came around May with a ticket" – said Cutajar
"Have you ever met Edwin Brincat?" – asked Mercieca
"He said he wanted a Nationalist Lawyer" – said Cutajar.
"Theuma asked for Simon Busuttil, for Jason Azzopardi, Beppe Fenech Adami and Karol Aquilina." – said Cutajar.
He also confirmed that he immediately asked for his lawyers.
Cutajar said that the Anti-Fraud section arrested Theuma.
Lawyer Mercieca is now asking questions who arrested Theuma.
Cutajar said it is not possible because at the time they did not hear the recordings.
Lawyer Mercieca is insisting that the presidential pardon was granted after the 2hour meeting with Theuma on the 15th of November.
It was then when he formed his decision, said Cutajar.
Cutajar said that the presidential pardon was granted to Theuma after investigations after recordings were heard by the investigative team and a report was compiled which was then presented to him.
Magistrate Montebello said that it is not what the witness is saying.
"So Theuma was granted with a presidential pardon in two hours?" asked Lawyer Mercieca.
Cutajar said that the meeting with Theuma on the 15th lasted for around 2 hours.
He also said that the recordings were never handed to him.
Apart from the AG, the two inspectors- Arnaud and Zahra, Cutajar said that there were times where Inspector Ian Abdilla was also present.
Mercieca asked Cutajar to read part of the Presidential Pardon document.
Cutajar doesn't seem to understand the questions and there is a possibility that the questions by the defence team, the way are being posed, are confusing the witness.
Lawrence Cutajar said that he was not involved in the report on the Presidential Pardon to Theuma.
Cutajar confirmed that during the meetings at OPM on the course of the investigations, former PM Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri used to be present.
Magistrate Montebello warned Cutajar to listen to the questions before he starts to answer.
He continued saying that Thuema had asked the Police 2 conditions: to implicate his family and to not use certain details given off the record against him.
Lawrence Cutajar said that Theuma was not trusting the police.
The court ordered Cutajar's lawyer to stop passing on comments and advice to his client.
Prior to the 15th of Nov 2019, there were meetings with the OPM on presidential pardons for other cases, said Cutajar however, the discussions on Theuma's presidential pardon took place (not with the OPM) after they were presented with the recordings.
He was unable to confirm how many meetings were held on the presidential pardon.
There were various meetings said Cutajar.
Asked with whom did he consult to grant Theuma with a Presidential Pardon, Cutajar said that he spoke to the team concerned – He mentioned the Attorney General, the AG.
Mercieca said that the question leads to other questions.
"What question is this?" asked Magistrate Montebello.
Mercieca asks Cutajar if he follows the news.
Cutajar said that the court had ordered him not to speak on the case to Arnaud and to Theuma.
Lawrence Cutajar said that the day after Theuma was arrested he spoke to him.
He is not sure when Theuma was arrested by said he thinks it was the 14th of November last year.
Magistrate Montebello asks the defence team to proceed with the questions.
Cutajar's lawyer asks for his client's testimony to be given behind closed doors.
Lawyer Mercieca is asking questions to Lawrence Cutajar on the Presidential Pardon granted to Melvin Theuma.
He takes the witness stand.
Cutajar entered the courtroom now.
The court ordered for the recordings to be played in all their entirety.
The court is waiting for Cutajar to enter the courtroom.
Former Police Chief Lawrence Cutajar is asked to take the witness stand.
Magistrate Montebello said that it is important that the witness is not cross-examined with recordings the court has not heard yet.
The defence team suggested that they can ask questions and recordings can he heard after.
The court approves for the recordings to be played before Lawrence Cutajar's testimony.
Magistrate Montebello ordered that today recordings relevant to Lawrence Cutajar's testimony can be heard.
The defence team said that they have no objection for all the recordings to be heard today.
She also asked how many recordings are to be heard today.
Magistrate Montebello asked the defence team if they wish to continue cross-examining Inspector Arnaud.
Arnaud said that the defence's request does not make sense as if the data will not be provided now it does not mean that Fenech will not be granted a fair trial.
Mercieca continued to say that the data extracted from the phone could help the defence team.
Lawyer Mercieca questioned why is Arnaud objecting their request.
The prosecution and Parte Civile argued that if the legal team is provided with the mentioned data it could prejudice other investigations which are still underway.
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is too objecting to this request.
The prosecution is objecting.
The defence team said that in the same way they were provided with a copy of the recordings they expect to be provided with the data extracted from their client's phone.
The defence team made a request to be provided with a copy of the data extracted from Yorgen Fenech's mobile phone.
Inspector Keith Arnaud's testimony ends here.
Asked by Mercieca who is investigating the data, Magistrate Montebello instructed Arnaud to not answer the question.
Asked when he intends to provide the legal team with the data, Arnaud said that this depends on the court orders.
"It is a matter of time when the data can be provided" – said Aruand who also explained that it depends what information is requested which can be presented.
Arnaud also confirmed the Police did not provide Fenech's legal team and Fenech himself with the data extracted.
Magistrate Montebello looks annoyed with Mercieca's question.
Arnuad replied: Of course not.
Lawyer Mercieca asked if Arnaud is part of the Magisterial inquiry.
Magistrate Montebello informed Lawyer Mercieca that he is repeating the same questions.
Around 12 people form part of the task force and only two people are looking into Fenech's phone.
Arnaud confirmed the Police has on a hard-drive the information extracted by Europol from Fenech's phone.
Arnaud said he does not have the information as yesterday evening while working on it he received a call – on what happened at Theuma's residence.
Mercieca asked Arnaud how many individuals form part of the task force investigating.
The Police inspector explained that Europol are extracting data from Fenech's phone.
Arnaud said that he does not have contact with the Europol court experts.
Arnaud explained that the mobile phone was photographed and is in possession of Europol.
Arnaud said that the phone was taken by Europol for further investigations at the time Fenech was arrested.
Lawyer Mercieca asked Arnaud where is Fenech's phone.
He is to be cross-examined by Fenech's defence team.
Inspector Keith Arnaud takes the witness stand.
The court orders Mr Cardona to provide the court with a certain file of the voice recordings.
Magistrate Montebello re-enters the courtroom.
Lawyers had asked Theuma to confirm if il-Gojja (Edwin/Edgar Brincat) paid €30,000 to the police commissioner to help get a pardon for the middleman.
During the last court sitting, Theuma denied that former Police chief Lawrence Cutajar received €30,000 to provide Theuma with a Presidential Pardon.
We are still waiting for Magistrate Montebello to re-enter the courtroom.
There were no signs of a struggle in Thuema’s Swieqi apartment, no indication of any defensive wounds, and no one in or around the apartment block – including the officers providing Theuma with 24-hour protection – heard any commotion.
Theuma’s injuries, said Gafa, were consistent with self-inflicted wounds.
In the meantime during a press conference earlier this morning, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa confirmed that Theuma's injuries (Happened on Tuesday night) were self-inflicted.
Former Police Chief Lawrence Cutajar is expected to testify today.
Magistrate Montebello suspended the courtroom for a few minutes until the court figures out if the recordings can be played today.
Inspector Arnaud has entered the courtroom.
Lawyer Mercieca has requested the court for the recordings to be played today.
Yorgen Fenech can be seen exchanging laughs with some of his family members.
Magistrate Montebello expressed her annoyance and warned the defence team to control their language.
Lawyers representing the Attorney General said that such a statement is unacceptable.
The defence team suggested if the Attorney General gave instructions to go slow on this issue too.
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi suggested that all recordings and not part of them should be heard in court today.
Lawyer Mercieca says that in the recordings reference is made to former Police Chief Lawrence Cutajar and therefore it is important that the recordings are heard today.
The defence team wants the recordings to be played in court.
Following Cardona's reply the defence team said it will not continue to cross-examine him.
Cardona said it was Arnaud who asked him if he could view the files to make sure the right files have been copied.
Fenech's defence team asked Cardona how may times he communicated with Inspector Arnaud.
Cardona continued to explain that the court had ordered him to copy certain files and not all of them.
He confirmed he did not have any communication with Europol.
He said he did not access them. He only copied the files.
Lawyer Camilleri from the defence team asked Cardona if he accessed the files while he was copying them.
He replied yes.
Lawyer Mercieca has asked the witness if there are any text files in the hard drive and if they can be edited.
Cardona is providing the court with technical details on how to access certain files.
Lawyer Mercieca is cross-examining the witness.
Magistrate Montebello said the question is unacceptable.
Inspector Zahra asked the witness to declare his position if he is to be accused of deleting any files from this hard drive.
He said that certain files were to be accessed differently from certain recordings that have already been played in court.
Magistrate Montebello asked Mr Cardona to explain which files can be accessed normally and those which need a particular software.
He said that with one software it is not possible to open all files.
Mr Cardona has explained the process on how one can access the files on the hard drive.
He said that certain media outlets reported there were missing files but this is not true.
He was asked to make a copy of certain folders in the hard drive.
The data was provided in a hard drive.
Mr Cardona takes the witness stand – He was appointed by the court to make a copy of the data presented in court.
Information on other criminal cases will not be disclosed.
Zahra has presented to the court Melvin Theuma's presidential pardon.
Inspector Kurt Zahra takes the witness stand.
The court told lawyer Grima that she has no right at this stage to speak on behalf of her client as Theuma 's testimony will be treated as any other testimony. His testimony has no privileges just because he has a presidential pardon.
Theuma's legal representative Kathleen Grima addressed the court since the name of her client was mentioned by the defence team.
Azzopardi said that Fenech's defence team had access to these files and had the opportunity to ask questions on the mentioned files.
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi said that it is a lie when someone says that certain files were lost or hidden.
Inspector Kurt Zahra said this is not true.
The defence team also alleged that these recordings are kept hidden by the police.
The defence team noted how today Theuma had to testify on recordings that "were lost" or "could not be found" by the Police.
Inspector Zahra said that Theuma is in critical condition.
The prosecution today led by Inspector Kurt Zahra informed the court that Melvin Theuma has been hospitalized and therefore cannot testify today.
On Tuesday evening Melvin Theuma was hospitalised after being found injured in his Swieqi home.
The police reported that he sustained stab wounds which appeared to be self-inflicted.
Fenech's defence team is requesting the court for Theuma's mobile phone to be presented to the court and has called for an investigation into yesterday evening's happening.
Magistrate Montebello has just entered the courtroom.
Melvin Theuma's pardon is to be exhibited in court today.
The sitting was expected to start at 9:30 am.
Lawyers Marion Camilleri, Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca are appearing for Fenech.
Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia, and Peter Caruana Galizia are appearing for the family.
Yorgen Fenech is present together with his legal team.
Good morning. We are live from courtroom 19.