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MALTATODAY 19 September 2021

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3 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 19 SEPTEMBER 2021 NEWS MATTHEW AGIUS THE alleged mastermind behind the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is requesting a court declare the nullity of the proceedings leading to the Bill of Indictment against him, claim- ing that they were not allowed to summon important witnesses. Yorgen Fenech's lawyers say that they had wanted to sum- mon several witnesses as well as evidence of their own, but their requests were brought to naught by the Attorney Gen- eral's issuing of the Bill of In- dictment, effectively closing the compilation of evidence against Fenech. Among the witnesses the de- fence wished to cross-examine before the compilation of evi- dence closed were former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, self-confessed murder middle- man Melvin Theuma, Theu- ma's step-daughter and the assassinated journalist's son, Matthew Caruana Galizia. They also wanted to exhib- it copies of Fenech's medical records, phone intercepts be- tween Edwin Brincat (known as il-Ġojja) and both Melvin Theuma and former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cuta- jar, as well as the head of the Malta Security Services to tes- tify. They also requested Inspec- tor Kurt Zahra exhibit the po- lice notes he referred to in his testimony, in order to see what happened in the investigation. All of these requests had been refused for various reasons. The lawyers are saying the Bill of Indictment must be an- nulled, and the case sent back to the Court of Magistrates to hear all of the evidence. The list of evidence the de- fence wanted to hear is under- stood to list over 100 witnesses in the preliminary pleas. The court had strongly sug- gested that the Attorney Gen- eral consider indicating them in his next note of renvoi, but instead the Attorney General issued the Bill of Indictment. This constituted unjust treat- ment, the lawyers are arguing, as the prosecutor had two years to bring all the evidence he wanted and when it was the de- fence's turn, the court refused. Fenech's defence team asked the court to declare the acts of the compilation of evidence "and consequently the bill of indictment be declared null, as despite repeated requests, disclosure was not given by the police according to law, in breach of decrees of the Court of Magistrates, the Criminal Code and also the defendant's fundamental right to a fair tri- al." Fenech claims disallowed witnesses breaches rights Alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech claims disallowed witnesses breach his right to a fair trial The Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech was arrested in December 2019 after attempting to escape from the island, and was charged with commissioning the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. His repeated requests for bail have been denied

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