The court hears explosive testimony in the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Accused Yorgen Fenech’s statements to the police cause a furore in court.
Police Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra were cross-examined today.
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The next sitting is scheduled for Monday at 11 am.
Today's court sitting ends here.
The media is asked not to report a particular issue which is being mentioned now in court as it is sensitive information.
Jason Azzopardi replies " Do you think we do not investigate?"
The defence team says that the parte civile seems to have in hand the information the prosecution has.
Fenech had insisted with the Police that he was protecting Schembri from Theuma.
Zahra says that Fenech used the word "blackmail" rather than "threatening him" because Theuma was the only person who could implicate him in the murder.
Inspector Zahra had asked Fenech during one of the interrogations if Thuema was blackmailing him on something in particular and asked him if he knew if something was about to happen.
Zahra says that from what they heard in the recordings Theuma and Fenech seemed quite close.
Dr Azzopardi clarifies that in the recording in no instance does Fenech mention he was frightened.
Inspector Zahra asks why he does not mention the weapon if he knew that Theuma was recording him.
Reference is again made to the weapon Theuma was holding in his sock.
Zahra says that there is no link established as yet between Schembri and the individuals from Zebbug. But the people involved are well known with the police.
Fenech also told the Police that Schembri calls him to tell Melvin to inform the one of Zebbug.
People from Zebbug were named during Fenech's interrogation. These were arrested amongst other people.
There are other conversations with Muscat says, Inspector Zahra.
Muscat asks him if he enjoyed himself and Fenech says that he did not speak with him as he was surrounded with people and he was shy to approach him.
In Fenech's phone, the Police found chats that confirm that he went to the party at Girgenti. However, these chats contradict what Fenech had said.
Even Melvin Theuma knew, said Zahra.
In December of 2016, Fenech knew that an election was going to be held in 2017.
He never gave any further information on 17 Black during the interrogations, said Zahra.
Fenech had replied that he will comment at the right time.
Zahra had asked: Is 17 Black yours?"
Fenech told the Police that he passed on money to Theuma because he used to feel threatened. The Police had suggested if it was blackmailed and Fenech had said yes.
Inspector Zahra said that Fenech told them " I was in between Melvin and Schembri, of course I worry."
Did Fenech explain why he needed to worry?
Inspector Arnaud said that they are still waiting for the right time.
Asked by Jason Azzopardi what did Fenech mean when he many times replied to their questions: "I will answer at the right time"
Inspector Zahra says that he tried to dig into the details on the plot to see if Yorgen Fenech was ready to say something.
The day after Fenech underwent a stress test.
Inspector Zahra explained that Fenech was referring to Schembri.
"He called me for about 30 times, one call after another, you can ask my wife"
During the interrogations, Fenech told the police that Keith Schembri informed him when Melvin Theuma will be raided.
From the said statement, Dr Azzopardi reads a part of it which states that Fench told the Police how Schembri had informed his wife that on Sunday an article will be published on him and that it would be better if they keep him calm in Gozo during the weekend.
They are now referring to a statement given to the Police on Dr Adrian Vella.
Zahra says it was Inspector Arnaud who asked the service provider for this information.
Fenech had also told the Police that they will find a photo of a msg from Keith Schembri in which he told him "No, its' quiet" on the eve of Fenech's arrest to inform him about the situation.
"They" refers to Dr Adrian Vella and Keith Schembri says inspector Zahra.
"They wanted me to escape two days before" read Jason Azzopardi.
They ask how did Azzopardi know of this. "You should be ashamed" yells Dr Mercieca.
The defence team objects and says that Dr Azzopardi knew that the word "fishy" was used.
Azzopardi asks Zahra questions on a particular word that was used in a chat between Fenech and Captain Wood.
"Because you had nothing to hide," Lawyer Mercieca tells his client.
This was strange said Inspector Zahra.
Chat between the captain of Fenech's yacht and Yorgen Fenech – Fenech insists many times that the equipment for the boat to be traced should be switched on.
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi asks Zahra about the statement Fenech gave to the Police. The defence again objects.
The court orders the prosecution, parte civile and the defence team to not exchange comments between each other.
Asked if there is any evidence of this, Inspector Zahra says he can check and confirm.
In one of the chats there wara "K" typed. The Police understood that it was in reference to Keith Schembri.
He also says that the Police had information that Schembri was communicating with Fenech before his arrest.
Zahra says that they had the information that Fenech was trying to escape.
Zahra says he was not present when Fenech was arrested.
Azzopardi asks what led for Fenech's arrest.
He was informed by Inspector Keith Arnau about this.
Asked when Fenech became a suspect during the course of the investigations, Zahra said that by the end of 2018 beginning of 2019.
The defence objects.
Zahra says it does not result that Fenech has any links.
Azzopardi asks Zahara if Fenech was involved or has an association of pesticides and insecticides etc.
Jason Azzopardi continues to cross-examine Inspector Kurt Zahra.
The court says Azzopardi is guilty for showing lack of respect towards the court.
Azzopardi says that it was not a personal comment but believes that the defence team is trying to confuse the court.
Mercieca demands that Azzopardi takes back the comment "the lawyer does not have a clear mind"
Mercieca is objecting to the questions put forward by Lawyer Azzopardi. He also draws the attention of the court regarding comments by Azzopardi.
The defence objects that at this stage questions are asked by the parte civile.
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi will now cross-examine Inspector Kurt Zahra.
Zahra says that the defence team has access to all the recordings that the Police had in hand.
Yorgen Fenech is seen agreeing with his lawyers.
Inspector Zahra says that the defence team had access to all the recordings. The defence team objects.
Fenech had told him that initially, the sum was €120,000 which later increased to €150,000.
Zahra continues testifying saying that he had asked Fenech about the €150,000 that Alfred De Giorgio asked Theuma to give him.
The prosecution denies this.
The defence team is objecting saying that the prosecution has conversations between Fenech and his lawyers.
These chats have not been presented in court.
He was heading to France and were discussing if the airport was safe.
In one of the chats with one of his relatives, Fenech said: "Take care of my kids."
On the 19th of November Fenech contacted his lawyer.
When asked if he had the intention to escape, Fenech told the police that he would have done so at least two days earlier his arrest when he went to Gozo with Dr Vella and when Schembri called him and allegedly told him "We will miss you."
Kurt Zahra also said that Fenech mentioned how Keith Schembri pass on to him around €85,000 to give them to Theuma.
Fenech felt he had to protect himself and Keith Schembri.
Fenech had also told the Police that Theuma had also placed a weapon on the table.
Fenech also told the Police that once Theuma had a weapon in his sock while he was waiting for him in front of his farmhouse, he once waited for him next to the place where Fenech's children wait to go to school and once in front of his office.
Fenech had told the Police that he was feeling threatened.
Instead of €30,000 Fenech gave Thuema €50,000. In his statement, Fenech said that he did so because he wanted to get rid of Theuma and did not fork them out in connection to the murder.
Thuema had then informed Fenech that he had already forked out 30k for Daphne's murder. He had told when he was driving him to the airport.
When Schembri knew about Theuma's plan he told Yorgen Fenech to get it done. "Do it, Do it, Do it."
When asked by the police if he had forked out the sum, Fenech had replied that he will comment later on.
Yorgen Fenech had to pay €120,000, according to what Theuma had informed him.
Fenech had informed Schembri on Theuma's plan.
According to Zahra, Fenech had told the Police that Schembri used to pressure him to finance the assassination.
During that time Keith Schembri used to visit Fenech to see how he could eliminate Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Fenech had also told the Police that Schembri had informed him he was being tracked so it would be better if he stays careful. Fenech also said that he did not feel the need to be careful.
Yorgen Fenech claimed that Keith Schembri started giving direct and indirect messages that Daphne Caruana Galizia should be killed, back in 2014.
Zahra says he was not aware that this raid was going to take place at that time.
At Girgenti former PM Muscat informed Fenech that Melvin Theuma will be raided by the Police in June 2019.
During this meeting Keith Schembri was present.
The second time Muscat asked Fenech was during the birthday party organised at Girgenti, Fenech told the Police.
During one of the interrogations, Yorgen Fenech told the Police that Joseph Muscat had asked him twice on this case – once he summoned him to Castille and asked him if he trusted Melvin Theuma.
Zahra also said that Fenech told the Police that apart from Schembri there were 4 others who knew about all this; ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Dr Adrian Vella and Johann Cremona.
Inspector Zahra continues to explain that Fenech had said that the plan was originally not his idea but alledged it was Keith Schembri who asked him to find someone who could do it.
Magistrate Montebello instructs Inspector Zahra to continue.
Lawyer Charles Mercieca angrily replied that this is not true.
"During the interrogations, he never denied his involvement in Daphne's murder," said Zahra.
For this reason, Inspector Zahra interrogated Fenech himself together with another Police official instead of Arnaud.
Zahra says that there were discrepancies in Fenech's statements during the time he was awaiting the Presidential Pardon and after it was not granted to him.
Kurt Zahra is giving the dates when Fenech was interrogated; 29th November 2019 and 30th of November 2019.
Zahra explains that the investigation is divided into 3 sections; the arrest of the De Giorgio's and Muscat, the arrest of Melvin Theuma and Yorgen Fenech and the current ongoing investigations.
Zahra says that he has two documents which he will refer to.
Inspector Kurt Zahra takes the witness stand.
Magistrate Montebello re-enters the court room.
Next to take the witness stand will be Inspector Kurt Zahra.
The sitting is suspended for 30 minutes.
Arnaud's cross-examination is again suspended.
These recordings have already been presented to the court.
Relatives of Theuma had copies of the recordings which the police was already in possession of; conversations between Fenech and Theuma and between Theuma and Johann Cremona.
Lawyer Mercieca asks if from the equipment that the prosecution gave to the defence team 88-90, if there are more which have not been presented yet. He also suggested that they might be kept hidden by the prosecution.
Lawyer Mercieca wants to ask more questions.
The Police Inspector presents the notes he took during previous sittings together with other information.
Keith Arnaud's cross-examination continues.
Arnaud's cross-examination is suspended.
"I absolutely do not know anything about other recordings" replied the Inspector.
"What if I told you that Theuma has other recordings he did not inform you about," says Lawyer Mercieca
He said he is not part of that investigation.
Arnaud says that when there were conversations between the leader of the Opposition and Fenech which were leaked he forwarded a report to the person who was investigating the leaks.
Arnaud says that he is not informed of this and that the Economic Crimes Unit are investigating Fenech's phone.
Mercieca says that until this morning there were leaks of information extracted from Fenech's mobile phone.
Arnaud says he does not know who requested a copy during the magisterial inquiry.
There are two copies of the information extracted from Fenech's mobile phone.
Fenech's mobile phone was presented in court during the inquiry on the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, presided by Magistrate Neville Camilleri.
Lawyer Charles Mercieca asks Inspector Arnaud if a copy was made of the information extracted from the digital equipment.
Fenech's mobile is also in the hands of the court expert and the police are only provided with the information extracted from the phone.
He says he knew of this because he was present when the box was opened and Theuma had told him that the ice cream box contained the recordings.
Arnaud says that he asked Magistrate Gabriella Vella and Magistrate Neville Camilleri so that he could have a copy of the content on the digital equipment.
Inspector Arnaud says that Voice 6 is included in other recordings.
Mercieca replies that these recordings are Voice 6 and 0010.
Inspector Arnaud says he is not aware that there are missing recordings. He challenges Lawyer Charles Mercieca to name these missing recordings if he has this information.
Arnaud denies that there could be evidence that does not incriminate Yorgen Fenech.
Magistrate Montebello asks the defence team to ask different questions.
Commotion inside the courtroom following Arunad's reply.
The defence team asks who decides what is relevant and what is not. Arnaud says the Police and the defence.
The last sitting of this renvoi, when documents are to be presented, is on Monday.
Arnaud says that he has to consult with the Attorney General first as from the things that were taken from Theuma's residence there might be things relevant for other investigations.
Lawyer Charles Mercieca asks when will the said information be presented, Arnaud says in the coming weeks according to the procedures.
Arnaud's cross-examination will continue.
Arnaud also says that regarding all the materials that the Police seized from Yorgen Fenech, investigations are still ongoing and therefore they cannot be presented in court.
He confirms that in the coming weeks more evidence will be presented.
Arnaud clarifies that the information that the defence is referring to was given to them already upon a request to the Police.
Keith Arnaud's cross-examination ends here.
The defence team says that the prosecution is deciding on its own what should and should not be presented in court.
Arnaud says that these were not presented in court as the Police were not aware of other equipment. he also said that towards February and March they found new recordings.
They mention other electronic equipment such as a hard drive.
Mercieca insists that the defence should be made aware of the evidence the prosecution has in hand.
Magistrate Montebello insists that information as part of a magisterial inquiry cannot be provided.
Lawyer Maercieca accuses Arnaud of being evasive in his replies.
The defence team says that the Police is withholding information that could help the defence in its work.
He does not deny that on these phones there might be Thuema's msgs.
Arnaud says he is not sure if these other phones belong to Theuma and is not sure how many are there.
Arnaud says that from other raids that took place more mobile phones were found.
"If I had to ask if Theuma had other mobile phones what would you reply?"
Lawyer Mercieca asks about the colours of the mobile phones. Arnaud says he is not sure but the process was filmed twice.
Inside the box, there were three mobiles and another one which was on Theuma. in total there were 4 mobiles.
"I do not even want to reply to that question. Obviously I am not" replies Arnaud.
"Are you sure you are not hiding anything?" asks Mercieca
Lawyer Mercieca says that he feels confused with Arnaud's testimony.
Arnaud said he was not present when Theuma was found with the box containing the recordings but was present when the box was opened.
He had informally spoken to him on the day he was arrested.
The 19th of November was the first time Arnaud spoke officially to Melvin Theuma.
"No, do I have a reason why?" asks Arnaud.
"Are you trying to take a revenge on Lawrence Cutajar?" asks Lawyer Mercieca
He visited the 3 times at the hospital and once at home.
Arnaud said that he felt it was his duty to visit Theuma in hospital and then at his home.
He insists he is not a friend of Theuma.
He said he visited him while Theuma was in the hospital and then at home.
Arnaud says that the last time he spoke to Theuma was on the 4th of June this year for about an hour and 15 minutes.
Arnaud did not speak to Theuma off the record.
The Police interrogated Melvin Theuma seven times.
He also says he does not know who is leading this investigation but it is normal that he is not made aware.
He confirms that recently he was made aware that Cutajr could have received money to grant Melvin Theuma the presidential pardon. "This is being investigated," says Arnaud.
"I absolutely was not informed that Cutajar could have received money from il-Gojja" says Keith Arnaud.
Arnaud says that he did not speak to il-Gojja about his relation with Lawrence Cutajar as he was not aware of it.
Lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran can be seen talking to Fenech's wife.
The defence team says that they feel they are not being informed with the latest updates. He says that from 200 recordings during Fenech's interrogation only 3 were played.
Asked about other connections that il-Gojja might have, Arnaud insists that the investigations are still on going.
He also says that during the interrogation with il-Gojja he does not think he made him listen to Theuma's recordings as there was no need.
Arnaud says he is not sure if the calls were made after or before the court ordered il-Gojja to not communicate with Former Police Chief Lawrence Cutajar.
After he was made aware of these calls, Inspector Arnaud never interrogated il-Gojja again.
The police inspector says that he can ask the service provider to present in court the call data.
The calls were made in June this year.
Everyone in court is surprised by Arnaud's reply.
Inspector Arnaud said that from the call data he is aware of this but there is an investigation ongoing.
Lawyer Mercieca tells Arnaud: "If I had to tell you that before his testimony former Police Commissioner communicated with il-Gojja?"
Asked if the Police seized Edwin Brincat's phone, Arnaud said that he could not as it was already in the hands of other police officers.
Arnaud says he does not think so but he is not sure.
Lawyer Mercieca asks if the former Police Commissioner entered the room during the interrogation.
Was former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar present for this interrogation? Arnaud says no.
Inspector Arnaud confirms that the only interrogation that was not recorded audiovisually, upon his request, was that with Yorgen Fenech.
Brincat was arrested on the 14th of November 2019.
Edwin Brincat was arrested twice and he was once interrogated by Inspector Nicholas Vella after his arrest.
"What needs to be said will say it in court," said il-Gojja to the Police.
Arnaud says that Brincat never spoke to the Police and that during his interrogation he remained silent.
The defence is asking about Edwin Brincat known as il Gojja.
Around 3 to 4 Police officers had arrested Dr Vella, says Arnaud and that Schembri and Vella were arrested on a different time.
Dr Vella gave 4 statements to the Police.
He confirms that the last time Dr Adrian Vella was questioned by the Police was on the 21st of December 2019.
Arnaud said that he is not aware that there were calls between Theuma and Camilleri.
Arnaud also says that Camilleri spoke to him after Theuma had mentioned him. After they spoke to Camilleri they again interrogated Theuma.
Asked if Kenneth Camilleri listened to Theuma's recordings. Arnaud said no.
Kenneth Camilleri was never arrested says Arnaud.
Kenneth Camilleri had said that he did not know Yorgen Fenech and never met him.
Camilleri was questioned by the Police twice : on the 22nd of November 2019 and the 27th of November 2019.
Arnaud is asked when was the last time he interrogated Kenneth Camilleri. He replies that it was before he was to testify in court and told them he has nothing to add to his statement.
Arnaud confirms that the investigation on Schembri is not over.
Keith Schembri was already questioned on the alleged 2nd letter.
The inspector says that Dr Vella is not aware of the 2nd letter.
Arnaud explains that Fenech alleged that the doctor passed on to him two papers.
Keith Arnaud also says that Fenech had mentioned to the Police that he went on a trip to the US with Schembri and Vella but insisted that Fenech gave the information so that he could be granted a Presidential Pardon.
He says they knew about Keith Schembri's and Dr Vella's connection when they asked about the letter and Vella told them he sometimes visits Schembri for a drink.
Arnaud says he did not ask Dr Vella how many mobiles he possessed.
Magistrate Montebello objects and says Arnaud can present them at the end of today's sitting.
Lawyer Mercieca asks if he can see the notes Arnaud is writing down.
He also said he did not know the doctor was a friend of Schembri but he did know Vella was Yorgen's doctor because when Fenech was unwell, it was him who came at the Police depot.
Arnaud said that they were not informed that Doctor Adrian Vella was in contact with Keith Schembri.
Arnaud said he did not need to inform Schembri he was to be arrested.
Arnaud says that they informed no one about Schembri's arrest. But when on the 25th of November 2019, Fenech gave them the information they did not have before, they immediately arrested Adrian Vella.
Magistrate Montebello warns them and says that "none of this is funny."
Yorgen Fenech and one of his lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran are heard laughing together.
For Schembri's arrest, it was only him and Inspector Kurt Zahra.
Arnaud says yes but is not sure who they were.
Mercieca asks if, before Schembri's arrest, Arnaud had the same investigative team assisting.
Arnaud says that Schembri gave 3 statements to the Police – one almost 2 hrs long, the 2nd about an hour and the 3rd one 40 minutes long.
And on the 28th he was summoned to the Police Depot.
Schembri was arrested on the 26th of November 2019 at 7 pm – When he said he lost his phone.
Arnaud says keith Schembri was arrested twice.
He says that Magistrate Gabriella Vella is leading the inquiry on Theuma's arrest and Magistrate Neville Camilleri is leading the inquiry on the murder.
Arnaud says he is jotting down notes and reading notes.
Arnaud replies: " Are you being serious?"
Lawyer Charles Mercieca says that Arnaud is reading from notes.
Arnaud says he was not present when the items were collected.
Mercieca asks if it is true that during Theuma's arrest 4 of the officials took a few items.
Magistrate Montebello objects.
Lawyer Charles Mercieca asks Arnaud to mention who were they.
Keith Arnaud says that on the day that Melvin Theuma was arrested in November, there were six Europol Officials.
He continues to explain that the assistance from Europol is divided into two; court experts and others who assist in their normal duties.
The defence team asks who coordinates with Europol. Inspector Arnaud says he cannot tell because it depends who is working on the day.
He says that in different stages of the investigations the number of investigators varies.
Arnaud replies that there are around 15 and 4 work in his office.
Arnaud is asked how many people form part of the investigative team.
Today Inspector Arnaud will be cross-examined.
Magistrate Montebello enters the courtroom.
4 security officers from the Corradino Correctional Facility are present inside the courtroom.
Police Inspector Keith Arnuad has just entered.
The accused Yorgen Fenech, is present inside the courtroom.
Magistrate Rachel Montebello is presiding over the court.
Lawyers Philip Galea Farrugia and Nadia Attard are appearing on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office.
Lawyers Marion Camilleri, Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca are appearing for the accused.
Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia and Eve Borg Costanzi are appearing as parte civile.
Police Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are leading the prosecution.
Today's session is expected to start at 10 am.
Vella also said that he never read the content of the letters.
Vella had confirmed with investigators that he passed on several letters between Fenech and Schembri, while the former was under police bail.
Last week Dr Adrian Vella, the mutual doctor of former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and murder suspect Yorgen Fenech took the witness stand.
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