Daphne murder: ‘Produce intercepts within next 24 hours’ – Degiorgios’ lawyer to Police Commissioner and AG

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Two of three men accused of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, have filed a judicial protest calling on the authorities to produce telephone taps linking them to the journalist’s murder.

George and Alfred Degiorgio’s lawyers have called on the Attorney General and Police Commissioner to release the recordings which they are said to have ‘bragged about’ which pinpointed them. They argued that failing to produce the evidence, was ‘highly suspicious, abusive and illegal.’

The Degiorgio brothers and the third accused, Vincent Muscat, were arrested back on the 4th December 2017, almost two months following the car bomb which killed Caruana Galizia on the 16th October.

The brothers have criticised the processes surrounding their arrest, saying that their right to a fair hearing has been impaired and the process leading to their indictment has been ‘rushed’.

Evidence

There are believed to be phone intercepts which show a top-up request in the phone used to trigger the car bomb as well as evidence of George Degiorgio uttering the phrase ‘two big fish’ and speaking with his girlfriend about buying wine.

The Degiorgio’s lawyer William Cuscheri told the court that this evidence hadn’t yet been produced nor had Malta’s head of the Security Service been called to testify if the evidence was real.

Instead, Dr Cuscheri argued that the recordings served to create, ‘much sensationalism in the media which had only served to prejudice their presumption of innocence,’

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Obtained legally

The lawyer also questioned why the Commissioner had not informed the court if the phone intercepts were recorded with a warrant approved by the relevant Minister.

Cuscheri told the court that such evidence had to be presented with its appropriate warrants. He said that none of these had been produced during the process of compiling evidence.

He explained that such a circumstance could mean;

‘a)       That it is not true that these intercepts alleged by the Commissioner of Police were made;

  1. b)      That if they were indeed made, they were made in an entirely illegal manner without a warrant;
  2. c)       That if the intercepts indeed were made (illegally) they certainly were not made with reference to the investigation of a crime which had not yet happened, but certainly in reference to another investigation…and cannot be used as evidence in this case;
  3. d)      That if the intercepts were illegally made they were passed on, equally illegally, by the Head of the Security Services to the Commissioner of Police;
  4. e)      That if the intercepts truly exist, there is an interest in revealing in an entirely illegal, arbitrary manner a small snippet of the full contents of the intercepts allegedly made during the phonecalls.’

As a result, the Degiorgio brothers gave Malta’s Secret Service head 24 hours to produce the transcripts and recordings and their legal warrants.

If this does not happen, the Police Commissioner and AG would need to officially state that they lacked the recordings.