UPDATED: Melvin Theuma warned to speak the truth in Yorgen Fenech compilation
Appearing in front of Magistrate Rachel Montebello, the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, charged with being the mastermind behind the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, continues.
In courtroom number 22 there is complete silence. Fenech’s defence lawyers are speaking in low voices to their client. In a row behind them there are four security officers – and behind them are Mrs Caruana Galizia’s parents and three sisters.
Also present now is Matthew Caruana Galiza. A few minutes after the sitting, it was once again suspended until the person responsible for transcribing the last sittings is present.
In her testimony, Margaret Debattista exhibited the transcript of two recordings as well as the transcripts of recordings which had already been presented.
Melvin Theuma goes on the witness stand. Theuma is the middleman and is testifying after being given a Presidential pardon.
The Court starts to hear one of the recordings. Dr Marion Camilleri said that she does not feel the procedure being used by the prosecution is fair because she feels Theuma is interpreting the testimony as he sees fit. However, Magistrate Montebello said that the procedure will continue and Theuma will testify on what he is being asked in the light of what was being heard in the recordings.
The prosecution notes that there is a difference between the transcripts and the recordings themselves. It is suggesting that the transcript of a particular recording should be done by two people – not one person. “It would be better to have two pairs of ears during this transcription exercise” the prosecution argued. The Magistrate announced that she would be appointing another person.
As the recordings continue to be heard, Melvin Theuma is saying that he cannot hear them properly. Those present in the courtroom, including the journalists, are complaining that they too cannot hear the recording properly.
During the recordings, mention is made of “ix-xiħ” (the old man), Arthur Azzopardi and Adrian Delia, but it is not known at this stage in what context they are mentioned, as the recordings are not of good quality.
Questions are put by Inspector Keith Arnaud in order to put everything into proper context, but Melvin Theuma complains that he did not hear the recordings clearly, and says that at the last hearing, the acoustics in the courtroom were much clearer.
Theuma replies that in the recording they are heard to speak about bail for the Degiorgio brothers. He says Yorgen Fenech stated that il-Koħħu wanted to spill the beans about Theuma, but he had not been believed as Theuma had never spoken to him.
Theuma stated that after the first 30,000 euro which the Degiorgio brothers and Muscat had taken, he had been asked for another 30,000 euro. Theuma said that George Degiorgio had offered him gold items: a watch, a bracelet and a thick chain in order to be given the second 30,000 euro, even as a guarantee. Theuma, however, was not comfortable with this offer, and Yorgen handed over the second sum of 30,000 euro to the three men through Theuma.
Melvin Theuma explained that he used to ask Yorgen Fenech to arrange for the Degiorgio brothers and Muscat to be given bail. He added that had they been granted bail, he would have been released of all entanglements. He further stated that Yorgen Fenech had told him Keith could not arrange for this bail.
Dr Jason Azzopardi starts putting questions. Yorgen Fenech had got to know through Johann Cremona that Melvin Theuma was recording the conversations with Fenech. Theuma stated that he used to keep the mobile phone in his pocket or in his sock in order to record.
In the recording, Yorgen is heard to say that he would call Valletta about the case and that he was scared. Melvin replied that he could not understand why Fenech was scared.
Melvin said that Yorgen Fenech had told him Keith had been calling him frequently.
The Court warns Melvin Theuma to state the truth, and not to reply “ma jafx” (I don’t know) or “ma jiftakarx” (I don’t recall). Magistrate Rachel Montebello points out that in particular excerpts Mr Theuma remembers clearly what has been stated, and in other instances, he replies that he does not know.
Fenech told Theuma what Vince Muscat il-Koħħu had been telling the Police about seven homicides, including the murder of Tyson back in 2014. Fenech said he did not know who Tyson was, but he knew that whoever had killed him had asked for 10,000 euro, but had offered a discount and had accepted 8,000 euro.
It was stated that Keith Schembri had been informing Fenech about what il-Koħħu was telling the Police when he was under arrest.
Yorgen Fenech describes the demonstrators, who according to him were about 4,000 in number, who were protesting against the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia as ‘damned’. He added that not even Adrian Delia had not supported her.
Dr Jason Azzopardi refers to the recording in which Yorgen Fenech is heard to say that the Government is panicking. Questioned by Dr Azzopardi, Melvin Theuma says Yorgen Fenech had told him that in the searches carried out after the arrests at the Marsa Potato Shed in December 2017, a number of mobile phones were recovered from the seabed, with one of them having only the number of “Cardona”.