A police officer stationed in Birkirkara this morning testified about having seen lawyer Carmel Chircop a few days before he was murdered, as he was arguing on the phone with someone about money owed to him.
The officer, Emmanuel Scicluna, was testifying in the compilation of evidence against Tal-Maksar brother Adrian and Robert Agius, George Degiorgio and Jamie Vella.
Robert Agius and Jamie Vella stand accused of supplying the bomb that was used to kill the journalist, while Degiorgio and Adrian Agius have been charged with Chircop’s murder. Both cases are being heard simultaneously.
Scicluna told the court that he was stationed at the Birkirkara police station and that he was familiar with Chircop.
He said that he clearly remembered that on one particular Saturday in October, he had some errands to run in Tigne, in Sliema.
He said that he remembered seeing Chircop as he was walking.
“He was wearing a white shirt, I remember it very clearly,” he said. “He was speaking to someone [on the phone] and all I remember is hearing him say: ‘When will you give me the payments? You’ve been saying this for a long time’.”
The week after that, he said he remembers hearing about the murder and realising it was the same person.
He had informed investigators in the case about what he had witnessed.
Chircop, a lawyer by profession, was shot dead outside his garage in Birkirkara in October 2015. He is known to have fronted Adrian Agius, and his business partner Ryan Schembri €750,000 which was to be used to fund the More Supermarkets chain that Agius and Schembri were involved in.
The court has heard how at the time of his murder, Chircop was chasing Agius for the remaining €600,000 that was owed to him.
Agius and Chircop are understood to have been on friendly terms, with the court hearing how the lawyer believed that Agius was doing all that he could to get Chircop his money, and had even offered him a property that he owned as repayment.
Today’s sitting also saw several police officers, members of the armed forces and the civil protection department testify about their role in the investigations related to both murders.
This included two men who owned car rental companies from whom the accused had rented cars that were linked to the crimes. Both struggled to remember most details they were asked for.
A blow-by-blow account of today’s sitting can be found here.
Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo is presiding over the case. Lawyers Alfred Abela and Rene Darmanin are defence counsel to the Agius brothers, while lawyer William Cuschieri is representing for George Degiorgio.
Lawyer George Camilleri is prosecuting on behalf of the Attorney General’s office together with Superintendent Keith Arnaud and Inspectors Shawn Pawney and Wayne Camilleri.
Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family, while lawyer Vince Galea is appearing for the Chircop family.
What do you make of this?