A magistrate has said that she is unable to accede to a request by the lawyers representing Yorgen Fenech for them to have access to the journalist’s laptops which they say include information that is essential to their client’s defence.
In a decree handed down today following Fenech’s request, Magistrate Rachel Montebello said the laptops weren’t in the possession of the police and therefore weren’t available to be preserved as evidence in the murder inquiry.
Both the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner filed replies to the lawyer’s request in which they said that the electronic devices could not be produced as evidence as they were not available to them.
“Despite the fact that two requests have already been made by the police to the inquiring magistrate, for the electronic equipment to be collected and preserved in the acts of the in genre inquiry, this never happened – though, it does not appear that this is because of some wrongdoing on the part of the police,” the magistrate said in her decree.
She also pointed out that the provision of the law cited by the lawyers only gave her the power to issue such an order up to the compilation of evidence stage.
The most she could do, she said, was order that the court be notified should the devices come into the police’s possession.
Fenech was arrested and charged with masterminding the murder of the journalist in November 2019, with self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma telling the courts that Fenech had told him that he needed Caruana Galizia gotten rid of because she was about to publish a story about his uncle.
In the aftermath of the assassination, the laptops were handed over to the German police by a Frankfurt legal firm acting on behalf of third parties.
They had been requested by the inquiring magistrate investigating claims that Egrant was owned by Michelle Muscat, however, the request was denied by the German authorities who insisted that the original owners of the devices still had full rights of ownership over the laptop.
It isn’t clear whether or not the laptops are still in the possession of the German authorities.
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