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.
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.
He also mentions that there are around 3 or 4 officers form part of the PM's security detail.
Bedingfield replied that he had done it so that people avoid driving by that car.
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.
He also says he does not think that the PL Parliamentary group discussed this matter.
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.
Bedingfield replies that there were times when she took matters on a personal level.
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.
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.
Says he did not work with Keith Schembri at OPM.
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.
He says this new blog will be launched before Easter. Then asks: "Ghandi l-permess?"
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.
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.
The board said that when 2 OPM officials testified they denied this was part of their job.
He then mentions how there were times when he had to remove certain comments to his blogs as he considered them as unfair.
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.
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.
Bedingfield said he did not work at Castille during that time.
Bedingfield says that Muscat never talked to him about what was irritating 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.
He replies that he shut down his blog in 2018 as he was too busy to continue writing.
He mentions how he had received bomb threats and that his car was vandalized.
He denied that he tried to create hate towards Daphne that could have led to her murder.
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.
He said that he knows of many broken families because of Daphne's writing. He did not mention particular cases.
Glenn Bedingfield said he used to reply to Daphne's blogs, in the same manner, she used hers against him.
Bedingfield is assisted by a lawyer.
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