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Court orders Chris Cardona's phone location data to be preserved in ‘brothelgate’ libel

A court has upheld a request madeto preserve mobile phone data relating to allegations that Cabinet minister Chris Cardona visited a brothel during an official visit to Germany

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
10 July 2017, 10:59am
Caruana Galizia alleged Chris Cardona had been frequenting the FKK Acapulco Sauna Club in Velbert, Germany whilst on an official visit
Caruana Galizia alleged Chris Cardona had been frequenting the FKK Acapulco Sauna Club in Velbert, Germany whilst on an official visit
A court has upheld a request made by Daphne Caruana Galizia to preserve mobile phone data, relating to allegations that a Cabinet minister visited a German brothel whilst on official duty in Germany.

Caruana Galizia had made her request in April, in four connected libel suits that were filed against the journalist by minister Chris Cardona and lawyer Joe Gerada, who she alleged, had been frequenting the FKK Acapulco Sauna Club in Velbert, Germany whilst on an official visit. Cardona and Gerada deny the allegations.

In a decree handed down this morning, magistrate Francesco Depasquale gave all local mobile phone operators one week to submit “the TAP files and similar files” for the period between 30 January to 31 January.

The order binds mobile phone operators to present copies of remotely recorded location data pertaining to a mobile phone belonging to minister Chris Cardona. 

The defence had asked that every applicable TAP file in the operators’ possession to be deposited in court in a sealed envelope until they testify and, before doing so, to analyse the data relating to 30 January, between 5pm and 12:30am and 31 January between 2pm and 7pm – where, according to Caruana Galizia, the minister would have been inside the German brothel.

In its decree upholding the request, the court also ordered that this documentation was not to be stored in the registry of courts, as part of the court file, but in a separate secure location, until it is exhibited in court.

“The actions of the plaintiff, as a public and political person, as well as the fact that he was abroad on government business at government expense are to be subject to a level of scrutiny far higher than that permissible on a private individual.”

The court said it saw no reason to uphold the request for the preservation of the data, which would otherwise be due to be overwritten on 29 July. Whether the information contained in those files was relevant or not was could only be evaluation on the basis of the entire body of evidence, the court observed.

Lawyers Pawlu Lia and Mark Vassallo appeared for the plaintiffs.

Lawyers Joe Zammit Maempel and Antonio Ghio are defending Caruana Galizia in the proceedings. 

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...
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