There is enough prima facie evidence to issue a bill of indictment against lawyers of Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech over the attempted bribery of a Times of Malta journalist.
Earlier today, Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras issued the ruling, quoting case law to justify the court’s decision.
Last November, journalist Ivan Martin flagged how Fenech’s lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran had offered him a set of €500 notes in return for favourable coverage towards his client. Fenech’s other defence lawyer Charles Mercieca was also present in this meeting.
Caruana Curran admitted offering money but said Martin had led them to believe they could use his services to help neutralise the bias against Fenech in the reporting in the media.
The court rubbished claims by Mercieca and his defence team that his case should be dismissed due to the lack of evidence. The court noted that even Mercieca admitted he was present for the meeting in statements given to the press.
However, the court did agree that Martin’s statement will not be exhibited in the case, given that he was not declared as a hostile witness when brought to testify.
Martin told the court that he first contacted Mercieca in May 2020 when he heard that the young lawyer was leaving the Attorney General’s office to join Yorgen Fenech’s defence team. He said they exchanged some messages over court applications submitted by Fenech.
In summer, the pair met twice, with Mericieca offering him leads for potential stories. Martin said that there was one piece of information which interested him, and he told Mercieca he would confirm the detail before publishing.
He had sent an early draft of that story but held off from publishing because he was uncertain over particular details.
Mercieca, Caruana Curran, and Martin then met on 2nd November 2020. The lawyers were keen on building a PR campaign to diminish the credibility of state witness Melvin Theuma
During that meeting, Martin was allegedly offered between two and five €500 notes in return for favourable coverage towards his client, which he rejected and returned.
The case continues on 7th April.
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