I believe Cardona and not Daphne’s allegations – Bedingfield

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Friday morning, Labour Party’s whip and MP Glenn Bedingfield has testified in the public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Caruana Galizia.

The former OPM official ran the blog GlennBedingfield.com which was used as a counter-attack to Daphne’s writings. In his testimony, today, Glenn Bedingfield said he felt the need to launch the blog in 2015 because the Labour Party had an “online deficit”.

Highlights from today’s court hearing:

  • Glenn Bedingfield asked to give his testimony
  • Bedingfield said that his writings on the blog were a counter-attack to Daphne’s writings
  • He says he had received bomb threats and that his car was vandalised
  • Bedingfield said that Daphne’s memorial in Valletta does not bother him
  • Asked about Yorgen Fenech, Bedingfield said he never saw him at Castille
  • He mentioned how he has a very good relationship with Chris Cardona and that he does not believe Daphne’s allegations on Cardona
  • The MP says that he will launch a new blog in the coming weeks, before Easter.
11:23 This blog ends here. We will soon update this blog with the highlights from today's court hearing. Thank you for following.
Amy Borg
11:23 The next court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday 26th February at 2 pm and Friday 28th February at 11 am.
Amy Borg
11:21 The inquiry board wants to know where the photo of Daphne portrayed as a which has originated. Vella says that the aim of such campaigns is to keep the origins of the photo secret.
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11:20 Vella says that if she needs to check public information concerning photos she searches online.
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11:17 The inquiry board asks Corinne Vella about a document she had presented to the court.

The board also asks Corinne Vella if she had seen photos on Neville Gafa's social media, posted elsewhere. The board asked this question as Gafa said that it was not him who used to take photos od Daphne.

Corinne Vella is asked if she has access to certain private Facebook Groups.
Amy Borg
11:16 PL MP Glenn Bedingfield ends his testimony.
Amy Borg
11:14 The board mentions how there are journalists who want to get manipulated so they get into inner political circles.
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11:12 Bedingfield says that he does not know of anyone who had given instructions to secret service officials to follow any journalists.
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11:10 Bedingfield is asked about security at Castille. He says that the AFM is responsible for it.

He also mentions that there are around 3 or 4 officers form part of the PM's security detail.
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11:08 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi said that in 2016 Bedingfield wrote about a car Daphne used to drive. He asks him what was the intention behind this.

Bedingfield replied that he had done it so that people avoid driving by that car.
Amy Borg
11:02 The board is referring to Glenn's writings which he described they used to be an equal and opposite reaction for what Daphne used to write.

The board mentions to Bedingfield that Daphne never had a TV programme though and that through TV one can reach a larger audience than a blog in English that wasn't understood by everyone.

The board also says that the aim of Daphne's blog was not to target everyone but for a specific audience.

Bedingfield said that when she published details on Panama Papers everyone knew. Her blog had reached everyone, said Glenn.
Amy Borg
10:59 Bedingfield says that he is not bothered with Daphne's memorial in Valletta and that he had also suggested a monument for the slain journalist.
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10:54 He explains that it is not within his competence to take action against allegations reported in newspapers.
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10:52 Bedingfield says he did not take any particular action when allegations emerged about Chris Cardona's possible links to Daphne's assassination.

He also says he does not think that the PL Parliamentary group discussed this matter.
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10:50 He mentions the recent controversy on the American University and how he took a stand against the government.
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10:46 The MP says that he last spoke to Keith Schembri in October or November 2019.
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10:43 Comodini Cachia asks Bedingfield if he used to write his blogs during work time. He said, no.

Then he is asked if the intention behind his writing was to create a chilling effect on the audience and why did he think that posting/uploading photos of Daphne's private life were of public interest.
Amy Borg
10:40 Comodini Cachia asks Bedingfield why he used to attack Daphne in his writings and not the content of her articles/blogs.

Bedingfield replies that there were times when she took matters on a personal level.
Amy Borg
10:33 The board asks Bedingfield of conversations with Konrad Mizzi regarding the Panama Papers.

Bedingfield replies: " Xi tridni nghidlu jien?"

He then mentions he still has a good relationship with Chris Cardona and that he believes Cardona and not Daphne's allegations.

"Cardona is not facing any accusations" – said Bedingfield.
Amy Borg
10:28 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia asks Glenn Bedingfield what instructions he used to receive from Keith Schembri.

He says that part of his job was to coordinate PQs and that he sometimes assisted Muscat when he was to be interviewed on TV programmes. His assistance was only related to Muscat's image and not political content, says Bedingfield.
Amy Borg
10:23 The inquiry board asks Bedingfield to whom he was accountable. Bedingfield takes a while to reply. Upon the board's suggestion says he was under the PM's responsibility.

Says he did not work with Keith Schembri at OPM.
Amy Borg
10:18 He is asked about the comments that used to follow his blogs. He says he is not a technical person.

He also mentions that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had asked him not to publish an article which had nothing to do with Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Amy Borg
10:17 Glenn Bedingfield says he was not one of those who put banners everywhere regarding Daphne's laptop. The court notices that he had written an article about the laptop.
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10:14 Bedingfield says that he will soon start running another website and that is the reason why his blog is not available anymore.

He says this new blog will be launched before Easter. Then asks: "Ghandi l-permess?"
Amy Borg
10:10 The board asks the MP about a tv programme he used to present with Luke Dalli on One TV. The board mentions that every week the programme dedicated part of it to mock Daphne.

He says he does not see any harm in this and after all, he was not being paid to do this by taxpayers' money.

Bedingfield says he thinks the programme, of political satire, had no effect on Daphne's murder.
Amy Borg
10:08 Bedingfield reiterates the blog 'Taste your own Medicine' is not his. Says he does not agree with it. The board then asks him if he thinks the messages of both blogs are the same.
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10:07 He confirms of having published photos of Daphne on his blog and people used to send him photos of her.
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10:05 He questions what was the intention of hiding Daphne's laptop.
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10:03 Bedingfield says he does not believe that Daphne's family was behind her murder.

The board then shows Bedingfield a blog he wrote that is to be interpreted as the interest of Daphne's family was for the murder not to be solved.
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10:02 Glenn Bedingfield says he never saw Yorgen Fenech at Castille. He also says he did not know Fenech was a good friend of Keith Schembri.
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10:00 The board asks Bedingfield if he was involved in the government's political messages. He replies, no and says that this falls under the communication's office at OPM.

The board said that when 2 OPM officials testified they denied this was part of their job.
Amy Borg
09:57 Regarding his blog, Bedingfield says that there were people who used to write on his blog but they always wished to remain anonymous. He said he will not disclose names of his sources.

He then mentions how there were times when he had to remove certain comments to his blogs as he considered them as unfair.
Amy Borg
09:56 The MP says that it would have been better if certain matters used to be discussed.
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09:54 Bedingfield is questioned on Panama Papers. He says this was never discussed with him.

The board mentions how in other countries where this scandal emerged resignations had followed by PEPs.

He is then asked to give his reaction about the Panama Papers. Bedingfield says he was not happy about the allegations.
Amy Borg
09:52 The MP is asked if he ever discussed the murder with Joseph Muscat.

Bedingfield replied that Muscat did not spend a lot of time at his Parliament office.

He also says that the PL Parliamentary group never discussed the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Amy Borg
09:50 He says that on the day Daphne was murdered there was no discussion happening about it at the PL headquarters.

Bedingfield said he did not work at Castille during that time.
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09:47 The board mentions to Bedingfield how former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had said he had 'a stone in his shoe' (an irritation) because of Daphne's murder.

Bedingfield says that Muscat never talked to him about what was irritating him.
Amy Borg
09:41 Bedingfield is analysing documents that the board has presented him.

He then says that what he is reading, from the documents, is not his writing. Says he is against violence.

The MP then says he felt sorry Daphne was killed and that all murders should not happen.
Amy Borg
09:40 The inquiry board asks Bedingfield why he decided to shut down his blog.

He replies that he shut down his blog in 2018 as he was too busy to continue writing.
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09:39 Glenn Bedingfield presents a number of articles that were published on Daphne's blog.
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09:36 He then mentions how PN leader Adrian Delia had described Caruana Galizia as "bicca blogger", during the leadership campaign in 2017.

He mentions how he had received bomb threats and that his car was vandalized.
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09:35 Bedingfield says that it is not possible that a person kills someone just because of an article.

He denied that he tried to create hate towards Daphne that could have led to her murder.
Amy Borg
09:33 As part of his testimony, Glenn Bedingfield presents to the court an article published on Newsbook.com.mt.
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09:33 He mentions how his blog was launched in 2015 and Daphne's blog in 2008.
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09:29 Bedingfield says that it is a lie the allegation that Police officers protecting Daphne used to feed him information about her.

He said that there was a long period of time when Daphne did not have protection by the Police and so the allegation does not stand.
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09:26 He presented to the court a list of 558 people who were mentioned in Daphne's blog.

He said that he knows of many broken families because of Daphne's writing. He did not mention particular cases.
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09:23 He explains that the reason behind his blog was that he felt the Labour Party had an 'online deficit'. He also said that no one had asked him to run the blog and its intention was not to attack one person or another.

Glenn Bedingfield said he used to reply to Daphne's blogs, in the same manner, she used hers against him.
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09:22 Says he was only responsible for GlennBedingfield.com and this was shut down after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
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09:20 He denies the allegation by Peter Caruana Galizia, that he is behind the blog 'Taste Your Own Medicine'.
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09:19 Bedingfield says that during the public inquiry it was given the impression there was some sort of a conspiracy against Daphne Caruana Galizia and that he was part of it. He says that everyone has the right to express himself.
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09:18 He accuses Peter Caruana Galizia and other people of having lied about him in the public inquiry.
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09:17 The inquiry board says that Bedingfield had asked to testify.
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09:16 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia presents the court a screenshot of writing on social media by OMP official Nigel Vella after he testified in court on Wednesday.
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09:15 The inquiry board enters the courtroom. Glenn Bedingfield is asked to take the witness stand.

Bedingfield is assisted by a lawyer.
Amy Borg
09:12 The inquiry board is composed of three members; Judge emeritus Michael Mallia, Cheif Justice Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro.
Amy Borg
09:03 MP Glenn Bedingfield is waiting outside the courtroom.
Amy Borg
08:58 Good morning and welcome to Newsbook.com.mt live blog.
Amy Borg

Highlights from the last court hearing;

  • Neville Gafa’ says he never discussed 17 Black with Keith Schembri
  • Gafa’ says Schembri was worried when he lost his phone
  • According to Gafa’s testimony Yorgen Fenech and Keith Schembri are good friends and he has known Joseph Muscat for 35 years
  • Gafa’ mentiones how the OPM has issued him a diplomatic passport
  • Neville Gafa’ also says he never took photos of Daphne Caruana Galizia
  • OPM Official Nigel Vella said he did not know the people who had locked journalists inside Castille
  • Vella was warned many times by the inquiry board to answer questions
  • MP Glenn Bedingfield to testify on Friday 21st February