Today’s sitting in the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, minute by minute
Dec 19, 10:02
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s relatives arrive in Court
The sitting is about to begin with members of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family entering the courtroom. Also present are defense and parte civile lawyers.
Dec 19, 10:12
Yorgen Fenech enters the courtroom.
Yorgen Fenech is escorted by high level security officers from the Correctional Facility who arrive at the same time as the Prosecution team.
Maġistrate Rachel Montebello arrives shortly after. The sitting commences.
Dec 19, 10:14
L-Ispettur Aranud takes the witness stand
L-Ispettur Arnaud informs the Court that the original records can’t yet be exhibited.
Dec 19, 10:17
Details about the devices used in the explosion are provided.
Inspector Arnaud testifies about the activity observed in the devices suspected to have been used in the bomb explosion. .
One of the devices, was switched on, on the morning of the explosion and the locality registered was shown as Bidnija.
The same mobile with a particular number, which was mentioned during the last sessions, moved in tandem with George Degiorgio’s mobile as well as his ghost phone.
Dec 19, 10:27
The discovery of the mobile phones subsequent to the arrests of the Degiorgio brothers and Vince Muscat
Inspector Arnaud reminds the Court that after the raid in the Marsa potato shed, the mobile phone which was working in tandem with the device that activity the bomb and wtih the mobile phone of George Degiorgio, was found in the sea. After the crime this was shown to have moved toward Marsa.
After the arrests of the Degiorgio brothers and of Vince Muscat, the other mobile phone belonging to Alfred Degiorgio, was found in the Marsa potato shed.
Dec 19, 10:32
The Degiorgio brothers would speak to Melvin Theuma regularly from prison.
George and Alfred Degiorgio would call their brother Mario in the presence of Melvin Theuma, and Melvin would offer words of encouragement and support assuring them he would continue to help them and sending them food.
Dec 19, 10:39
Police dilemma on whether to arrest Melvin Theuma
There was time when Melvin Theuma sounded agitated and often opened up to his taxi driver friends. He mentioned problems he had with Yorgen Fenech and the fact that he had started recording conversations he had with him.
In time the Police began to suspect that the recordings were connected to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia but until then they did not know the contents.
Maltese Police with the assistance of Europol analysed the phone calls. The Inspector went on to say that the Police were in a dilemma as to whether to arrest Theuma and risk not finding the recordings which could hamper the investigation.
The Police therefore decided to arrest Theuma on suspected illegal gaming and money laundering.
Dec 19, 10:42
The Court orders a ban on the publication of Theuma’s address.
While Inspector Arnaud was testifying about Police suspicions that Theuma would take action on illegal gaming when he was in Marsascala which resulted in them changing tack and arresting him immediately, the Court acceded to the request for a ban on Theuam’s address in the locality.
Dec 19, 10:48
Melvin Theuma was interrogated six times. He was first asked to give his version of events and after, in the presence of lawyers, he was asked to explain the recordings in detail. It was then that new names were mentioned, amongst these, Kenneth Camilleri.
Under interrogation Theuma insisted that he had never met Keith Schembri apart from the time when he met him at Castille when he was given a job and once at a dinner party.
Dec 19, 10:52
“See what you’re going to do because I’m facing 18 years imprisonment.”
A deleted file found inside Melvin’s phone contained a conversation where Yorgen Fenech gave Theuma money for him to go abroad with his family since Theuma appeared to be under a lot of stress.
Theuma confirmed with Police that although he feared Yorgen Fenech, the latter never threatened or hurt him and that he continued passing on money for the three suspects in prison.
The Inspector said that when Theuma found out that he was going to be arrested on money laundering charges he tried to delay the process and to protect his family. The Police discovered ‘chats’ where Theuma asked Fenech to cover him so that he would be acqitted on money laundering charges.
Apparently Theuma told Fenech: “See what you’re going to do because I am going to prison for 18 years.”
Inspector Arnaud said that Keith Schembri could not be arrested because Melvin Theuma had explained that he had mentioned Schembri in the letter on the assumption that he was close to Fenech.
When Yorgen Fenech was arrested on 20th November, Inspector Arnaud said that Fenech had not incriminated Keith Schembri.
Yorgen Fenech’s version changed after his first two versions. He said he was changing his version because initially he was promised a pardon.
Inspector Arnaud exhibited a copy of the document allegedly passed on to Fenech by Dr Adrian Vella when the latter went to see Fenech at home, while Fenech was on police bail.
Fenech said that the doctor had delivered a document with a message from Keith Schembri. Fenech said that he was told to say that which was indicating in the document in order to benefit from a pardon.
The Inspector explained that the computer written and printed document contained handwritten notes which Fenech said were his and which he had written because he was not in agreement with all that was written.
Inspector Arnaud said that when Dr. Vella was arrested and interrogated he initially denied passing on notes but subsequently admitted to doing so.
The doctor said that first Keith had called him and he had told him that he could not go. But then Yorgen had called and asked him to do him a favour and to go and pick up something from Keith. The doctor said that he had not read the document and did not know what it contained. It was folded in four parts and he put it in his jacket pocket and took it to Yorgen Fenech at Portomaso. He said that he saw Yorgen scribbling on it.
Yorgen Fenech was stopped leaving Malta on his boat because the Police were carrying out Port surveillance to prevent such an eventuality. Questioned as to why the Police were surveilling him, the Inspector said that as soon as Theuma was arrested the media reported the possibility of a pardon being given to Theuma, so the Police feared that Fenech might escape.
In fact the Police found a phone conversation that Yorgen had with his uncle Ray, where the latter had sent him a link to an interview the Prime Minister about a pardon to Theuma.
They discussed contacting lawyers about the possibility of leaving Malta clandestinely. He said he had also heard rumours from journalists that the Police were following him. They discussed sim cards and Yorgen told his uncle to look after his family.
The Inspector said that Doctor Vella had told Police that he, Yorgen and Yorgen’s brother Franco had gone to his farmhouse in Gozo and discussed how he could leave Malta. They discussed the possibility of Yorgen catching a boat to Tunisia and continuing onto Dubai from there. Doctor Vella said that Keith Schembri was not involved in this meeting.
Defense lawyer Caruana Curran told the Inspector that Theuma’s testimony was similar to that allegedly given by Keith Schembri to Yorgen Fenech in the letter passed on by Vella but the Inspector denied this claim.
The Magistrate put a stop to this line of questioning and said that these were to be made at a later stage when the letter was exhibited. In the meantime the Inspector exhibited a copy of the 5 page document given to him by Fenech’s lawyers, and which he said was written by Schembri.
Dr. Caruana Curran raises doubts about the letter found in Yorgen Fenech’s residence, allegedly written by Theuma implicating Fenech.
Dr. Marion Camilleri asks about the box contained the letter and the photograph of Theuma and Keith Schembri. The Inspector says that this was found in Melvin Theuma’s car and was opened in the presence of the Magistrate at the Depot.
Dr. Camilleri asked the Inspector whether Theuma had confronted him with conflicting facts, where he had initially given prominence Keith Schembri, but which he then chose to discard when he gave his statements to the Police.
The inspector says that Theuma was believed because he explained that he had associated meeting Kenneth Camilleri with Keith Schembri, because he assumed that the latter had sent him.
Questioned Dr. Camilleri, as to why Schembri was not being investigated in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, when it appeared that promises of bail could have been made, the Inspector said that the Police were also investigating Schembri in connection with the murder and that he was still being investigated.
Inspector Arnaud was asked whether he knows Keith Schembri. The Inspector said that he got to know Schembri during a meeting at Castille in the last week of November 2017, where he gave a briefing about development in the investigation. This took place before the arrests of the Degiorgios and Vince Muscat. He clarified that until that meeting there was no date as to when the arrests were going to take place.
Il-Pulizija qed tfittex il-mobile ta’ Keith Schembri – qal li tilfu