Yorgen Fenech’s legal team appears to be in possession of a voice recording taken by middleman Melvin Theuma which the prosecution doesn’t have.
This strange twist was revealed this afternoon during a court sitting against Fenech, the former businessman charged with conspiring to assassinate journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Theuma was being questioned by Fenech’s lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran on whether he was aware of plans to grant him a presidential pardon before his arrest last year.
When Theuma denied, Caruana Curran asked whether Edwin Brincat (Il-Ġojja) had paid €30,000 to then police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, with the implication being that Theuma had bribed Cutajar to secure a pardon.
Brincat is a mutual acquaintance of Cutajar and Theuma, and Cutajar is under investigation for leaking information to Theuma, via Brincat, about the police investigation into the murder.
Theuma denied that Brincat paid Cutajar €30,000, and it was at this point that Fenech’s lawyer asked the court to play out a particular recording that Theuma had taken.
Caruana Curran said he had been waiting for seven months for the prosecution to play this recording but it hasn’t done so. He noted that Theuma had given the police these recordings himself and said it’s important that a few seconds of them be played out today and for Theuma to be questioned about them before the police and his lawyers can speak to him.
The lawyer said these recordings will prove that Theuma was lying when he said he only recorded Fenech and his business partner Johann Cremona.
Magistrate Rachel Montebello authorised the playing of these recordings, but when a court official started playing one out, Fenech said it was the wrong one.
Caruana Curran and Fenech’s other defence lawyer Charles Mercieca then tried to find the recording on the court laptop but were unable to and said the file appears to have been deleted while in court.
Montebello left the chamber for a while and, upon her return, asked the defence lawyers to clarify whether they were saying a particular recording was missing, warning this would be unacceptable.
Assistant Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia agreed that this would be unacceptable and said his office had an interest in safeguarding the integrity of the records.
Mercieca responded that there are discrepancies in the copies of the recordings on the court laptop and those in their possession and he is concerned the prosecution hasn’t played them out.
Homicide Inspector Keith Arnaud commented that he would like to know how the defence has a copy of a recording which others don’t.
Fenech’s lawyers asked the court whether they could play these files out from their laptop but magistrate Montebello refused, stating she wants court expert Alvin Cardona to testify about these alleged discrepancies first, with the sitting scheduled for Wednesday 22nd July at 9:30am.