A Maltese criminal court has rejected the 117 preliminary pleas raised by two men charged with the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, George and Alfred Degiorgio, ahead of their upcoming trial.
Heard before Judge Edwina Grima, their requests mostly focused on the admissibility of the evidence against them. One of the pleas involved legal justifications in gathering data from the brothers’ mobile phone data, while another focused on FBI opinions on the case.
The Degiorgio brothers were arrested on 6th December 2017 along with Vince Muscat. The three men have all been charged with the murder of Caruana Galizia.
Judge Grima also rejected eight preliminary pleas of Muscat.
Testimony from middleman-turned-state-witness Melvin Theuma has revealed that the two brothers were provided funds throughout their stay in prison. There are several logged phone calls between the men.
During the compilation of evidence against the men, police inspector Keith Arnaud had testified that he was in possession of intercepted phonecalls which implicated George Degiorgio in the murder of Caruana Galizia.
These include a call made by Degiorgio asking for a top-up voucher, which he then allegedly used to send a message to a device that had been attached to Caruana Galizia’s car, triggering it and causing the explosion. Moments after the murder, Degiorgio also messaged his girlfriend to say he had “caught two big fish” and to ask her to buy a bottle of wine to celebrate.
The brothers have a history of crime – Alfred Degiorgio was among three criminals acquitted of carrying out an armed robbery in 2004, while his brother George was charged and cleared with the possession of suspicious tools suitable for break-ins.
Both brothers have been in prison since their arrest on December 2017, with multiple requests for bail being turned down. A bill of indictment has been issued, and they are waiting to go to trial of the case.
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