Murder suspect’s family calls for criminal investigation into leaks

FILE PHOTO: Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, who was arrested in connection with an investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, leaves the Courts of Justice in Valletta, Malta, November 28, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Family of murder suspect Yorgen Fenech who stands accused of complicity in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have called on Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà to launch a criminal investigation into leaks of information from his mobile phone.

The family and Fenech’s legal team have called on Gafà to investigate the information which was leaked to the media and originated from Fenech’s phone, as well as any public official who communicated any document or fact, entrusted or known to them by reason of their office and which is to be kept secret.

In a statement on Wednesday the legal team said that the statement was being issued in response to media reports relating to the contents of Fench’s mobile phone, adding that it had been denied access by the Police and the Attorney General.

Fenech’s legal team highlighted that Fenech’s mobile phone is in the hands of the Police and in the magisterial inquiry which is currently at the AG’s office.

Times of Malta reported that Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis and Fenech exchanged hundreds of messages in 2019. The chats happened after Fenech was exposed as the owner of the mysterious Dubai-based company, 17 Black.

Illum reported that over 2,000 messages which exist between one unnamed cabinet member, while there are around 800 messages between Fenech and disgraced then-OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, on Sunday. Over 700 messages exist between Pierre Portelli and Fenech.

These thousands of WhatsApp chats are set to be exhibited in court by Europol.

Thousands of WhatsApp chats are set to be exhibited in court next month
What’s in Fenech, Muscat and Schembri’s WhatsApp chats?

During a recent sitting in the compilation of evidence against Fenech, his team told the court that his wife received a call from Fenech’s number.

His legal team said that in the past week it appeared that Fenech’s mobile phone had been used to make phone calls to other mobile numbers, while the phone is supposedly preserved at the police.

“Without questioning the integrity of the mobile phone evidence, it is deplorable that the individuals charged with the administration of justice and the protection of fundamental human rights are being careless with the preservation of evidence in their possession and allowing such evidence to leak causing irreparable harm to fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals including Yorgen’s [Fenech’s] fair trial rights,” the legal team said.

“It is deplorable that these groups or individuals who should be most concerned about the rule of law and protection of fundamental human rights, seem to be solely interested in tarnishing reputations and thwarting perceptions. It cannot be overstated that Yorgen has and is denying the charges made by police about his role in the crime, and reserves his right to institute any legal redress to counter any assault on his fundamental human rights and the presumption of innocence,” the lawyers conclude.

Lawyers Dr Marion Camilleri, Dr Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca are appearing for Fenech.