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Caruana Galizia suspect drops objection to FBI testimony

Accused contesting the court expert appointed to the case

File photo: Reuters

File photo: Reuters

One of the men accused of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia has dropped a constitutional case surrounding the testimony of FBI agents in the murder compilation.

Alfred Degiorgio was back in court on Thursday afternoon, amid the usual tight security, to appear before the superior court presiding over his constitutional case. This was related to the fact that the foreign experts had collaborated with court-appointed expert Martin Bajada, whose appointment was being contested.

The crux of the applicant’s claim lay in the fact that the FBI experts had worked in tandem with IT expert Dr Bajada, whose appointment had often been disputed since he had in the past been convicted before a London court for theft and fraud.

Dr Bajada was appointed a day after the journalist’s assassination on October 16 and his findings had led to the arrest of 10 suspects and the subsequent arraignment of three of them, namely Mr Degiorgio, his brother George, and Vince Muscat, all currently facing a murder compilation and still being held under preventive arrest.

A request for an interim measure, which would have stopped the FBI agents from testifying in the murder compilation, had been thrown out by the court, presided over by Madam Justice Lorraine Schembri Orland, who had also subsequently rejected a request for her to abstain from presiding over the case.

As the proceedings were set to continue this afternoon, William Cuschieri, assisting Mr Degiorgio, formally filed a note in open court whereby, in the presence of his client and Peter Caruana Galizia, as well as lawyers from the AG’s office, he formally ceded the case.

Lawyers Victoria Buttigieg and Maurizio Cordina from the office of the Attorney General requested that the data presented in court by mobile phone service providers was to remain sealed and in the custody of the court, accessible only to the parties’ lawyers and the court authorities.

This request was upheld by the judge who, in view of the note presented by Dr Cuschieri, declared that it was to take no further cognisance of the applicant’s claim.

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