Glenn Bedingfield testifies in public inquiry into murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia
Today the public inquiry into the murder of Mrs Daphne Caruana Galizia continued. This inquiry is investigating whether the authorities could have taken any measures to avoid the murder.
In today’s sitting, Glenn Bedingfield took the stand to testify.
Bedingfield, who requested that he be able to testify himself, said that he had made this request to reply to what he described as the lies which have been told about him, especially what he described as “the lies by Peter Caruana Galizia,” the victim’s husband.
He said that he had come to speak up, because the impression had been given that he was part of the plot to murder Mrs Caruana Galizia. He said that in her blog, Mrs. Caruana Galizia had humiliated, insulted and smeared the reputation of many people. He said that she had freedom of speech and that everyone should enjoy the same liberty.
He said that despite his writings, which were in reaction to hers, he never stifled the principle of freedom speech.
He added that the only website he was responsible for was the one with his own name, glennbedingfield.com. He said that the claim by Peter Caruana Galizia that he had begun the website under the name tasteyourownmedicine.com, was not true.
Bedingfield said he began his blog because he felt that the Labour Party did not have an online presence. He added that no one had told him to do this and that there was never an intention for attacks to be made on just one person.
He said that Mrs Caruana Galizia was aggressive towards him and all those who did not agree with her.
He also said that it is not true that he was employed by OPM to attack her. H also presented a list of people who had been attacked on Caruana Galizia’s blog and from research he had made, there were 558 people who had been attacked on the blog, including children.
He said that even his own daughter had ended up on the blog when they had gone on holiday. He said that this had nothing to do with his political life.
Mr Bedingfield added that when he was writing his blog he was never sued for libel.
The board asked the witness why he had stopped writing on his blog, and he said he did this because in 2017 he was elected to Parliament and therefore he had to stop blogging because of all his other commitments.
He said that he is against all forms of violence, and he was also saddened to learn of the assassination. The board asked the witness about the atmosphere in Castille when the death of Mrs Caruana Galizia was announced, and he said that everyone was under shock.
The witness was asked whether he knows to whom the ‘pebble in the shoe’ comment by former PM Joseph Muscat was referring to. He replied that he did not know whom he was referring to.
Asked what his reaction was to the allegations that there might have been other people involved in the murder from the Government, he said that he was shocked by this. Regarding the Panama Papers, Mr Bedingfield said that he was never involved in any discussions about this.
However, he said that he was not happy with these allegations.
Questioned about his relationship with Mr Keith Schembri, the witness said that they were colleagues. The board asked whether Mr. Bedingfield used to see Yorgen Fenech at Castille, and Bedingfield replied in the negative. When the witness was asked about a blog post he posted about Mrs Caruana Galizia’s laptop, he said that this post was not alleging that the family was in any way involved in the crime. Mr Bedingfield said he used to publish photos just as Mrs Caruana Galizia did in her own blog, and added that he did not used to take these photos himself.
The witness was asked by the family’s lawyers about who had made the decision to portray Mrs Caruana Galizia as a witch. He said that this decision was made by him and Dr Luke Dalli. When the lawyers asked why he had decided to take down his website, Mr Bedingfield said that it was because he would be reopening another website using this same name.
Questioned about whether he used to work with Keith Schembri on a regular basis, Mr Bedingfield said that he did not used to work with him and that his work was to co-ordinate Parliamentary Questions. The witness denied that he was ever given any direction by the Government to write about Daphne Caruana Galizia. Asked whether in the light of the Panama Papers he had spoken about the case with Konrad Mizzi, Mr Bedingfield said that Mizzi did not need him to tell him that he had shed a bad light on the Government.
When asked about his relationship with Dr Chris Cardona, Mr Bedingfield said that they had a good relationship.
The witness was asked when he last spoke to Keith Schembri and he said that their last conversation was in October of last year. Questioned as to whether as an MP, they had discussed the allegations made about Dr Cardona within the Parliamentary Group, Bedingfield said that in the meetings he had attended this subject had not been discussed.
He was also asked whether he was present for any discussions about 17 Black. Mr Bedingfield replied that he was never involved in these discussions.