Current Affairs
UPDATED: Alfred Degiorgio’s DNA found on cigarette butt lifted from Bidnija

The Court sitting is adjourned for 26 April at 9.30 a.m.

11:05 – Defence and Prosecution try and agree on an IT expert able to recover the file which contains the GoPro footage.

11:04 – Defence asked witness for the name of the Europol official, and he replied that the name was Sam and he was Scandinavian.

10:55 – Vice Squad Inspector John Spiteri stated that on 4 December he  had been instructed to report for work early. He was to have a team of Police officers for a search in a property at St Paul’s Bay.

Inspector Spiteri was also informed that a member of Europol would be present. Inspector Arnaud had shown him an arrest warrant for George Degiorgio. At 08.15 a.m. he had started the search in the residence. Anita Bob had opened for them, and he had told her that a search was to be carried out, and informed her that her partner had just been arrested.

The Inspector said he had been present during the search. He recounted that mobile phones, tablets, Xbox, playstations, USBs, CCTV for the same residence, SIM cards, vehicle keys, a contract between George and Ivan Formosa, mobile phone bills and other electronic items had been lifted.

Inspector Spiteri further added that in one of the bedside tables in the bedroom he had found documents which were a charge sheet with two affidavits, going back to 2008. There was also a yellow sticky note attached, with the message Ass-amanote.

The Inspector added that he had found another sticky note in the kitchen, with three digits on it which he recognised could have been those of a Police officer. George Degiorgio’s car, an Audi, had been escorted to Police Headquarters.

10:40 – Dr Marisa Cassar was nominated as one of the experts in the inquiry led by Magistrate Anthony Vella. She said that there were a large number of exhibits which had been examined. From the conclusions of the analysis the genetic profile of at least 12 people was carried out and compared with that of George and Alfred Degiorgio.  The cigarette butt lifted from underneath the low wall underneath the tree in Bidnija was established to have belonged to Alfred Degiorgio, and from the searches carried out at the potato shed in Marsa, cigarettes were lifted from the ashtray and trousers, which were compared with Alfred and George Degiorgio’s DNA, as were cigarettes which were lifted from the boat belonging to Alfred Degiorgio.

The defence asked the witness whether the cigarettes were lifted from Marsa and she replied that there were six on the coffee table, 5 near the sink and 75 outside the shed. Another 31 cigarettes were lifted from the boat.
The defence also asked Dr Cassar about anonymous letters which she had analysed. She said that there were four of them but that she does not read the contents. She receives the stamp and the outer part of the letter in order to lift the fingerprints.

10:20 – Police officer Joseph Zarb was on duty at St Paul’s Bay near the residence of Alfred Degiorgio. His orders were that if he saw Alfred Degiorgio or anyone else who has access to the residence, they should be detained. He said that in the evening, Alfred Degiorgio arrived with the CID, they went up to the apartment to carry out the search and he remained outside.

Inspector Arnaud asked Carmelo Fava what document he had with him, and he said that it was a document showing the lease of a flat with the address in Triq it-Tonn, St Paul’s Bay. This apartment belongs to Fava who had advertised it with a real estate agency but in Court, Fava said that he forgot the name of the agency.  He said that this had been rented out since 26 August 2016, supposedly for one  year, but that he had kept renting it out to Alfred Degiorgio. He identified the signatures on the contract, one was his and the other belonged to Alfred Degiorgio.

Inspector Arnaud asked if Fava (who appeared confused) why George’s name was written down. He says he did not know. Inspector Arnaud asked whether he remembered who was present on the day of the contract. He said that it was him, his wife, Alfred Degiorgio, and the woman from the agency.  The defence asked whether he had paid attention to the names. He said that he genuinely did not pay attention because all he wanted was to earn some money from his summer residence because he was a pensioner.

10:15 – Police officer Martin Mifsud starts to testify, with the prosecution led by Inspector Keith Arnaud asking him how he was involved on 4 December. He replied that he had gone to Siggiewi where Vincent Muscat lives. He said that he went at 6am but no one answered the door. An hour and a half later, a woman opened the door, and they went in, but nothing was seized, although they noted that there was a computer.

At 6pm Vincent came with the Police and the forensics team as well as a foreign expert, and something was lifted from the computer. From there they went to Msida, where Vincent has a second residence, but he did not enter, because there was another team. He added that he went to Avis, who towed the Toyota belonging to Vincent (because they did not have the keys to the car), and took it to the Police HQ.

The defence asked whether he knew the name of the foreign expert who was with him, but Mifsud said he did not know the name, but that the man was wearing a jacket with the word Europol on it, and described him as being around 40 years old.

10:00 – A high-ranking security official from the harbour says that he was asked by the Police to pass on the CCTV footage installed at the Grand Harbour. The defence asked him whether one could zoom in on the footage to see the details of a particular boat. He was asked to identity the boat, but the official, Patrick Pollacco, replied that no, one could only zoom in on live footage, in real time, and not on a recording.

09:50 – The first witness for today is called to the stand – a soldier from the Armed Forces who says that when they went diving at the Grand Harbour they had filmed the discovery of a number of  mobile phones and SIM cards underwater using a GoPro camera. However, for some reason, there was damage to the SD card and as a result there is no access to the footage which was taken during the operation which was carried out last December.

09:45 – The compilation of witnesses continues into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.  Present in the court room are the three men accused of the murder George and Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat, their lawyers and Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit.