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MaltaToday 15 June 2022 MIDWEEK

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2 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 15 JUNE 2022 2 NEWS MATTHEW AGIUS THE Attorney General had ad- vised the police not to investi- gate criminal complaints filed by Melvin Theuma and Yorgen Fenech against each other, un- til criminal proceedings against them were concluded, a court has been told. Superintendent Victor Aq- uilina took the witness stand before Magistrate Nadine Lia in challenge proceedings filed by the self-confessed middle- man in the murder of journal- ist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Melvin Theuma. Theuma had filed the chal- lenge proceedings against the Commissioner of Police, claim- ing the police failed to investi- gate Yorgen Fenech for having filed an allegedly false police report against Theuma himself. Superintendent Frank Tabone had resisted a request that he exhibit all of the evidence re- quested by Theuma's lawyers, until they indicated the objec- tive of the request, describing the challenge proceedings as a "fishing expedition". In a previous sitting in April, one of Theuma's lawyers, Kath- leen Calleja Grima, had in- formed the court that a copy of the separate criminal complaint filed by Fenech against Theu- ma was yet to be inserted in the acts of the case. The magistrate had, however, pointed out that these proceedings were against the Commissioner of Police and not Fenech. "AG advised us not to investi- gate until the other prosecu- tions are concluded" When the case resumed on Tuesday afternoon, Superin- tendent Aquilina exhibited a copy of the criminal complaint filed by Fenech on 22 October. Calleja Grima cross-exam- ined Superintendent Aquilina, asking him to explain which court proceedings Theuma's criminal complaint dealt with. The lawyer said her client was making two claims, calumny and intimidation of a witness. She asked whether the Super- intendent had spoken to the prosecuting officers in relation to the criminal complaint. "I spoke to my superior of- ficer, at the time Assistant Commissioner Stephen Mall- ia. We then went to seek legal advice from the Attorney Gen- eral, Victoria Buttigieg." As- sistant Commissioner Sandro Gatt from the Major Crimes Unit and Inspector Darryl Borg had also been present for these meetings, he said. "The AG gave us indications, rather advice, that in these cir- cumstances nothing was to be investigated until the cases are concluded and to communicate this information to the lawyers representing the parties." Aquilina said no investiga- tions into the complaint took place. With regards to the record- ings and testimony exhibited and handed to the police by Theuma, he said that he had not requested a copy of them nor heard them, on the advice of his superiors and, subse- quently, the Attorney General. The Superintendent added that he had followed this advice and not requested a copy. The legal advice given to the police was not to investigate either of the complaints until the crim- inal proceedings against them were concluded, he said. Superintendent Aquilina ex- hibited his replies to corre- spondence received from Yor- gen Fenech's lawyers Charles Mercicea and Gianluca Carua- na Curran as well as those he had sent to lawyers Kathleen Calleja Grima and Matthew Brincat, who are representing Theuma. Melvin Theuma's cross ex- amination still reserved, lead investigator confirms Superintendent Keith Arnaud took the witness stand next. Arnaud had investigated the Caruana Galizia murder, to- gether with Inspector Kurt Zahra and subsequently pros- ecuted several individuals, in- cluding Yorgen Fenech. Calleja Grima asked what Theuma's position was, in the proceedings against Fenech. "He is a witness. He testified several times as a prosecution witness. I'm not sure whether he had been summoned as a defence witness too." The lawyer asked whether Theuma had concluded his testimony and the cross-exam- ination. "He definitely finished his testimony and I believe the cross-examination is currently suspended." The lawyer asked whether the witness had ever been asked for information by other officers in connection with a criminal complaint filed by Theuma against Fenech. "I originally found out about it from the media. Later I received a sum- mons to testify." "Did superintendent Victor Aquilina ask you for any in- formation in relation to the criminal complaint?" asked the lawyer. "Not advice, but information. Probably we might have spoken about it, but we gave no advice and we hadn't even investigated it our- selves…I just gave him a very brief background to what had been done but that was the ex- tent of our discussion." Inspector Kurt Zahra from the Homicide Squad testified next, as one of the prosecutors in the case against Fenech. He stressed that he had not been involved in the resulting inves- tigation. Neither had he been spoken to by Superintendent Aquilina about the criminal complaint, he said. Zahra testified to having only "superficial knowledge or deal- ings" with regards to this par- ticular criminal complaint, be- fore it was handed over to the Valletta police station. "The office which sent it to us, the legal office, I believe, we had told them that we weren't the right people to investigate the claims… We had investigated the homicide and arrested both Theuma and Fenech. We had a role in these events and felt we should keep our distance. Besides this, we are homicide investigators and our job is to investigate homicides." The case was adjourned to November, with the Registrar of Courts expected to testify during the next sitting. Inspector Darryl Borg ap- peared for the Commissioner of Police. Lawyers Kathleen Calleja Grima and Matthew Brincat appeared for Theuma. One of Yorgen Fenech's law- yers, Charles Mercieca, was al- so present in the courtroom at yesterday's sitting. Police told not to investigate Fenech- Theuma complaints until after trial Both alleged mastermind and middleman in Caruana Galizia assassination filed criminal complaints against each other, but AG told police to hold off until trial Melvin Theuma, the middleman in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia

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