Caruana Galizia public inquiry: Glenn Bedingfield insists his blog was ‘equal and opposite reaction’ to Daphne’s

Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield, who ran a blog frequently critical of Daphne Caruana Galizia, says his writings were an 'equal and opposite' reaction to the slain journalist's • Follow our live blog of proceedings here

Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield is tesifying today in the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry
Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield is tesifying today in the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry
11:22 The public inquiry will continue next Wednesday at 2pm Massimo Costa
11:21 Today's session has now concluded Massimo Costa
11:21 Corinne Vella says the campaign against her sister Daphne functioned using a modus operandi where the originator of photos remained invisible. It was made to look spontaneous, but it was planned in advance, Vella says Massimo Costa
11:18 The board asks Vella about the origin of the photos. Vella says that it is very hard for her to establish the origin of a photograph with the information she has available. They may have originated from one of the secret Facebook groups, but she had no access to it she tells the inquiry board Massimo Costa
11:15 The inquiry board has a question for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sister, Corinne Vella in connection with photos shown on Neville Gafà's blog Massimo Costa
11:14 Glenn Bedingfield's testimony has now concluded and he has stepped off the witness stand Massimo Costa
11:13 He says he doesn’t know about any Secret Service detail instructed by the OPM to follow persons Massimo Costa
11:12 The subject turns to security arrangements at Castille. Bedingfield says that, as far as he is aware, the only security is provided by the Armed Forces of Malta at the front door Massimo Costa
11:08 "She was taking photographs of people. People were getting tired" Bedingfield responds Massimo Costa
11:07 Bedingfield is asked about a post on his own blog, where had stated the make, model and numberplate of Caruana Galizia’s car. What was the intention of giving this information, he was asked, as he is reminded that he was a government official at the time Massimo Costa
11:06 Bedingfield disagrees on the blog’s reach however. He says Daphne’s blog would have 700,000 hits on some stories, which exceeded the population of Malta Massimo Costa
11:06 The inquiry board now turns the subject back to the TV show Bedingfield co-hosted, TANATNEJN. The board says the show had a much greater reach than Caruana Galizia’s blog. Board member judge Abigail Lofaro also says that not everyone had a sufficiently good command of English to understand Caruana Galizia’s blog Massimo Costa
11:02 Asked about Caruana Galizia’s memorial at the foot of the Great Siege Monument, Bedingfield says this doesn’t bother him Massimo Costa
11:01 “I was shocked, as were others,” Bedingfield says of the reaction amongst government MPs, “I believe Theuma was caught because of police investigations” Massimo Costa
11:00 Azzopardi now asks Bedingfield about Melvin Theuma, the middleman in the Caruana Galizia murder who was granted a presidential pardon to reveal all. He asks the Labour MP what had transpired in his party’s parliamentary group after Theuma and suspected murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech were arrested Massimo Costa
10:58 Azzopardi asks Bedingfield whether "As an MP did you see it as an unacceptable piece of news?" The question is however overruled Massimo Costa
10:57 Azzopardi asks Bedingfield over his role in rebutting Caruana Galizia’s allegations that Cardona had visited a German brothel while on government business. “I am not the person responsible to take steps against MPs,” Bedingfield says Massimo Costa
10:56 Jason Azzopardi refers to when, in April 2018, then Labour deputy leader Chris Cardona was mentioned as having spoken to the police regarding the Caruana Galizia murder. “What did you do as an MP? What did you ask to be done in the parliamentary group?” Azzopardi asks Bedingfield. "I don't believe anything particular was done,” Bedingfield replies Massimo Costa
10:49 Azzopardi asks Bedingfield when the last time he spoke to Keith Schembri was. Bedingfield replies that it was “When there was the controversy surrounding the American University of Malta. Last year, around October or November” Massimo Costa
10:48 Caruana Galizia family lawyer Jason Azzopardi is now questioning Bedingfield Massimo Costa
10:47 Bedingfield is now asked about the photos he would upload of Caruana Galizia, taken while she was going about her daily life. In defence, he refers to posts Caruana Galizia would write about him. "What right did she have to write I was going to Manoel Theatre?" he says. Comodini Cachia retorts that Bedingfield was a government official. "You're a person of trust,” she says. "So shall we live in a country were persons of trust can't express themselves?" Bedingfield asks in reply Massimo Costa
10:45 Caruana Galizia family lawyer Andrew Borg Cardona stands up and make a submission to the inquiry board - it is now known to the media present what he submitted. Lawyer Veronique Dalli, representing Bedingfield, says the submission represented a gratuitous assertion Massimo Costa
10:41 Asked whether his blog posts had a “chilling effect” on government opponents, Bedingfield says that he too experienced such a result due to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s writings about him. “You are saying what happened to me too. People would stop talking to me, some would spit at me [as a result of her writings],” he tells the inquiry board Massimo Costa
10:38 Bedingfield asks whether he wrote his posts on the government dime, while he was at work. He says he wrote “whilst at the office, not while working” Massimo Costa
10:37 Comodini Cachia presses Bedingfield on why has had found it appropriate to attack the person of Caruana Galizia, not her message. "The blog posts of Caruana Galizia were personal. That’s what an equal and opposite reaction means,” Bedingfield repeats Massimo Costa
10:36 "Dr Cardona is not accused of anything," Bedingfield comments Massimo Costa
10:36 The subject now turns to Bedingfield’s relationship with former economy minister Chris Cardona. Bedingfield says that, at times when Caruana Galizia would write about them, he would speak to Cardona, former tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, and others on the matter Massimo Costa
10:35 Comodini Cachia now confronts Bedingfield over the fact that over a thousand of his blog costs contained the words “Daphne” in the title. In response, Bedingfield says that “Caruana Galizia would comment in public on every subject… it was an equal and opposite reaction.” He insists creating his blog was his own personal idea Massimo Costa
10:33 Bedingfield confirms he had other duties besides coordinating PQs Massimo Costa
10:32 He is now being questioned over former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri’s involvement. It is pointed out that one of the blog posts he had writted featured an email which clearly showed he also worked for Schembri in certain instances Massimo Costa
10:31 Bedingfield is asked who his superior at Castille was, to which he replies that he would “coordinate PQs”. He is asked if this meant the prime minister was his superior. Bedingfield says he himself “had the final say” Massimo Costa
10:25 Said Pullicino turns to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog posts on Glenn Bedingfield. He says Bedingfield was only mentioned “in one or two stories.” But Bedingfield disagreed. “I think you’re mistaken,” he says Massimo Costa
10:24 Bedingfield said former prime minister Joseph Muscat never intervened in the running of the blog, expect once, when he had asked him not to write a story about a person, who wasn’t Daphne Caruana Galizia Massimo Costa
10:24 Bedingfield is asked about comments below his blog posts made by visitors. He said he used the Disqus platform which requires administrator moderation of comments. "Where I would see persons exceeding a certain limit, I would remove them." Massimo Costa
10:17 Comodini Cachia asks why Bedingfield had taken his blog down in 2018. He says it was because he is planning a new website - also at the URL - which will go live soon Massimo Costa
10:16 Bedingfield says it was Luke Dalli (European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli’s son) and himself who had decided on this, “When you are making a programme, you want to give it some colour,” he said, adding that he doubted that a satirical programme had any influence on the journalist’s assassination Massimo Costa
10:14 Caruana Galizia family lawyer Therese Comdini Cachia now starts to question Bedingfield. She asks who had decided to include the El Faba skit - where Daphne was portrayed as a witch frantically typing on a keyboard - on TANATNEJN Massimo Costa
10:10 Said Pullicino asks whether there was a provision in his contract which allowed him to engage in such activities. Bedingfield says it was part of his freedom of expression to do so Massimo Costa
10:09 Bedingfield confirms that, at the time he participated in the TANATNEJN TV show, he was working at Castille, as a person of trust Massimo Costa
10:09 Lofaro points out that witches ended up being burnt alive at the stake. "Burnt alive," she repeats, in reference to the brutal manner Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb Massimo Costa
10:09 Bedingfield is now asked about the show on One TV which he co-hosted, TANATNEJN, which had carried a skit, "El Faba", about Daphne Caruana Galizia where she was portrayed as a witch. “It was a caricature,” he says, “They used to portray me as a vulture” Massimo Costa
10:07 He says that he didn’t agree with the Taste Your Own Medicine blog, “because it was anonymous”. Lofaro suggests that perhaps he agreed with its message…. Massimo Costa
10:07 Bedingfield says Taste Your Own Medicine was focused on Daphne Caruana Galizia, while his blog was about various topics and themes Massimo Costa
10:06 Board member judge Abigail Lofaro points out that, in fact that is what “Taste Your Own Medicine” (the name of another blog meant to counter Daphne Caruana Galizia) meant Massimo Costa
10:06 Bedingfield is now asked about posts on his blog involving photos of Caruana Galizia’s children. He says such posts were “an equal and opposite reaction” to the type of posts Daphne would upload on her blog Massimo Costa
10:05 “If I wanted to solve it I would have wanted to give all the evidence to the police,” Bedingfield say in terms of what he would have done had he been in the family’s shoes Massimo Costa
10:04 Bedingfield, however, defends the post, telling the inquiry board that “any object that potentially sheds light on the murder should be given to the authorities”. He denies that he was implying that the family were involved in the murder. The board tells him that he's saying in the post that the family had an interest to not have the investigation solved Massimo Costa
10:03 The blog post in question is now read out in court. It insinuates that the family wanted the crime not to be solved, as it “suits their narrative” Massimo Costa
10:03 But Bedingfield says that he doesn’t believe the blog post in question insinuated the Caruana Galizia family had been responsible for the murder Massimo Costa
10:01 Bedingfield is now asked about a blog post where he insinuated that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family had been responsible for her murder Massimo Costa
10:01 The line of questioning now turns to the various floor levels at the Labour Party’s Mile End headquarters. The board asks Bedingfield if he ever saw Yorgen Fenech at Labour HQ. He says that he “can say that he never saw him” Massimo Costa
09:59 "But you have to do some moderation, and take responsibility?” the board asks. Bedingfield says he did. He also confirms that all guest posts were anonymous Massimo Costa
09:59 The inquiry asks Bedingfield if he would vet guest blog posts. He replies in the affirmative Massimo Costa
09:58 He is asked whether third parties would post on his blog. He says they would, but he would like the guest-blog post writers to remain anonymous Massimo Costa
09:58 When asked by the board, Bedingfield denies ever giving any advice to former prime minister Joseph Muscat Massimo Costa
09:57 He says that his “personal reaction was not one of pleasure at the [Panama Papers] allegations, but it was not my role…” In hindsight, he says, it would have been better had the Panama Papers been discussed internally, but they hadn’t been Massimo Costa
09:56 "Nobody ever gathered us together and spoke to us about the Panama Papers..." Bedingfield tells the inquiry board Massimo Costa
09:56 The subject now moves to the Panama Papers. Bedingfield says that at the time of the Panama Papers revelations, his job involved coordinating parliamentary questions (PQs) to be sent for higher discussions which were outside his remit Massimo Costa
09:55 But Bedingfield insists he does not know if there were discussions at government level on Daphne’s murder. He says, however, that as parliamentary group level, there were no discussions on the assassination Massimo Costa
09:54 Said Pullicino, referring to testimonies by previous witnesses who also, like Bedingfield, claimed they did not know what was going on in Castille, remarks that “It cannot be that everyone in Castille says ‘I was in my room, I had no contact with anyone else’” Massimo Costa
09:53 “I stopped working at the Prime Minister’s office in 2017 (before the murder), so i can't tell you the immediate reaction [of the government],” he Bedingfield says. He adds, however, that former prime minister Joseph Muscat “was also shocked” Massimo Costa
09:52 The board asks him if the murder was discussed at government level. "I can't say I had discussions at government level, but if you go to the pjazza in Bormla..." he says. This prompts the board to redirect him to the subject of the question - the government Massimo Costa
09:51 Asked about his reaction to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, he says it was one of sadness, "dwejjaq" Massimo Costa
09:50 The Labour MP is shown a printout of a post on his blog, but he denies he wrote it. “It isn’t my style of writing. It could have been a guest post,” he says Massimo Costa
09:49 Bedingfield says he had closed the blog because of his increased workload as a parliamentarian. “It was a personal decision”, he says Massimo Costa
09:49 Said Pullicino asks Bedingfield why he had decided to close his blog Massimo Costa
09:48 Inquiry board member chief justice emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino tells Bedingfield that he is the ideal person to assist the board, since he is a politician and a journalist Massimo Costa
09:45 The inquiry board now starts questioning Bedingfield Massimo Costa
09:45 Bedingfield now tells the inquiry board that he too exposed himself to attacks due to what he wrote in his blog. “I was attacked in St Paul's Street, and I suffered bomb threats and other things,” he says Massimo Costa
09:44 “Adrian Delia also insulted her. He called her a “biċċa blogger”. So are these PN elements also part of the conspiracy?” he asks Massimo Costa
09:44 Bedingfield says that his blog was “political” in nature, and that it was a platform for people who were insulted and ridiculed by Caruana Galizia Massimo Costa
09:43 Such circumstances show that the Caruana Galizia family are out to get certain people, not Malta’s institutions, Glenn Bedingfield tells the inquiry board. “They claim that I created a climate that made it possible for her to be killed,” he says, pointing out that, at the same time, it was also claimed that Daphne was killed because of something she wrote about. Here he refers to a speech in Parliament by PN MP Simon Busuttil alleging that Daphne was killed because of something she was about to reveal Massimo Costa
09:40 This, Bedingfield continues, would have been “physically impossible” for the police to do. He adds that it was a lie that he was receiving information or was responsible for the blog Taste Your Own Medicine Massimo Costa
09:40 He again refers to Peter Caruana Galizia’s testimony, this time to statement by the slain journalist’s husband that the police stationed outside Daphne’s house as a security detail had been supplying Bedingfield with information on her. He points out that the police had stopped their protective services to Daphne in 2013, when Police Commissioner John Rizzo had stepped down. “How could the police have been giving me information when they weren't even there?” Bedingfield asks Massimo Costa
09:37 Bedingfield points out that Caruana Galizia had started her blog in 2008, while his had been launched in 2015. Caruana Galizia, he says, had needed police protection before he had started his blog Massimo Costa
09:36 He now refers to testimony given by Caruana Galizia’s husband, Peter Caruana Galizia, to the inquiry board. He says Peter Caruana Galizia’s testimony that some of Daphne’s security details were leaked to him (Bedingfield) was not true Massimo Costa
09:35 The Labour MP is insisting none of his blog posts were ever libellous, and that he was never sued for libel Massimo Costa
09:35 Bedingfield tells the inquiry of an instance when Caruana Galizia wrote about his daughter. “Do you know why my daughter was attacked? Because she went to buy a sandwich on the catamaran,” he says Massimo Costa
09:33 Bedingfield says he has a list of over 500 people whom Caruana Galizia “attacked”, which also includes children. One such person, he tells the inquiry, ended up almost suicidal Massimo Costa
09:32 Bedingfield starts his testimony by denying before the inquiry board that the set up his blog to attack Caruana Galizia. He says his blog was created two yeas after he started working for the Prime Minister’s office Massimo Costa
09:30 Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield, who ran a blog which frequently criticised Caruana Galizia, has taken the witness stand Massimo Costa
09:30 Good morning. We are back in court for the continuation of the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder Massimo Costa

Glenn Bedingfield has insisted that posts on his blog which frequently negatively featured Daphne Caruana Galizia were meant to be an "equal and opposite reaction" to the slain journalists' writings.

The Labour MP, who ran a blog which was frequently critical of Caruana Galizia, took the witness stand on Friday during the continuation of the public inquiry into the journalist's murder.

Bedingfield told the inquiry board that he had suffered due to what Caruana Galizia wrote about him, saying he had once been attacked in St Paul's Street, Valletta, and that he had also received bomb threats.

Asked whether former prime minister Joseph Muscat had ever intervened in the running of the blog, Bedingfield said that he had done so on only one occasion, when Muscat had requested that he not write about a certain unnamed person, who was not Caruana Galizia.

Questioned about a blog post where he had insinuated that the Caruana Galizia's family was responsible for Daphne's murder, Bedingfield defended the post. He denied it implied the family were involved in the murder, but said that, had he been in their shoes, he would have given all evidence he had to the police.

Bedingfield confirmed with the board that a skit on the TV show he co-hosted, TANATNEJN, which had portrayed Caruana Galizia as a witch, was the idea of co-host Luke Dalli - European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli's son - and himself.

On his reaction to Caruana Galzia's murder, Bedingfield said it was one of sadness (dwejjaq).

Bedingfield was also asked whether the murder was discussed at government level. He claimed ignorance, saying he had stopped working at the Prime Minister's office in 2017, before the murder, and therefore did not know what the government's immediate reaction was. This prompted inquiry board member judge emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino to remark that it was not acceptable that everyone who worked at Castille claimed they knew nothing.

Said Pullicino made similar comments in previous sittings, when other OPM staff members also claimed they were unaware of the goings on in Castille.

In the previous sitting, on Wednesday, former OPM staffer Neville Gafà and OPM communications officer Neville Vella gave testimony

Former judge Michael Mallia is chairing the inquiry board, while Chief Justice Emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro are the board’s other two members. The inquiry's terms of reference stipulate that it must be concluded within nine months.

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