People gather in Valletta to demand justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. Photo: Occupy Justice
The German federal criminal police, the Bundeskriminalamt, have confirmed they have not yet received a formal request from Malta for data on the laptops and hard drives used by Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The assassinated journalist’s family handed the two laptops and three hard drives to the BKA last May after declaring their lack of trust in the Maltese police force with such sensitive information. Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said shortly afterwards that the Maltese police would communicate with the BKA to obtain access to this data in the hope it would help them get to the bottom of the journalist’s murder.
However, just under four months after the minister’s intervention, the BKA said in an email to a German journalist a week ago, seen by Lovin Malta, that that this has not happened yet.
“We have evaluated the data but have yet to receive a formal request from the Maltese authorities,” the BKA said. “Since there is currently no request for judicial assistance and therefore no pending proceedings on the analysed equipment at the public prosecutor’s office in Wiesbaden, we cannot provide any further information.”
The Office of the Attorney General in Wiesbaden also said no formal request for the data has yet been made by the Maltese investigators.
The Maltese police have not responded to a request for comment as of the time of writing.
The Caruana Galizias opted to hand over the electronic equipment to the Bundeskriminalamt
During court proceedings a few months ago against the three men charged with murdering Caruana Galizia, it emerged that the only piece of electronic equipment the police had managed to retrieve was a tablet the journalist had last used in 2015.
Caruana Galizia’s sister Corinne Vella later confirmed the family refused to hand the late journalist’s laptop to the police because they didn’t trust the investigators.
“Daphne would never have wanted her laptop to be given to the authorities,” Vella said. “She would always hide her laptop before going out. It was about protecting her sources. And she died protecting her sources. She knew that whatever information the police got hold of would go straight to the same people in government she was investigating.”
MaltaToday then reported that lead police inspector Keith Arnaud had formally asked magistrate Anthony Vella, who was leading the murder inquiry before his promotion to judge, to take possession of the laptop and preserve any relevant information while protecting the identity of her sources.
The state of the missing laptop had political repercussions too, with some supporters of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat accusing the Caruana Galizias of hindering the murder investigations and questioning whether they were concealing a sinister truth behind the murder.
A banner demanding Caruana Galizia’s family hand over their late relative’s laptop
The BKA’s update on the laptop situation comes a day after Attorney General Peter Grech wrote that investigations into the murder are continuing at pace and that the police and Malta Security Services are still utilising “significant resources” to solve the case.
“The investigation is one of the most resource-intensive investigations in the history of Maltese law enforcement,” Grech said. “Significant resources are still being utilised in this case from both the Malta Police and the Maltese Security Services, but I would not expect them to provide a running commentary in the public domain.”
Grech’s letter was the government’s initial response to a legal letter it received from UK law firm Bhatt Murphy, on behalf of the Caruana Galizia family, which called for a full public inquiry into whether the journalist’s assassination could have been prevented.
Bhatt Murphy warned that if the government refuses to open a public inquiry, the family would open legal proceedings in Malta and perhaps even at the European Court of Human Rights.