Judge to deliver decree on bail request by three men accused of murdering Caruana Galizia

Brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat, who stand accused of planting and detonating the bomb that killed journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have asked for bail

Sketch of the accused in the dock this morning | Artist: Perit Eric Gerardi
Sketch of the accused in the dock this morning | Artist: Perit Eric Gerardi
10:05 The court will now continue to hear the deputy AG's justification of court experts who had been summoned to testify in the compilation of evidence. Thanks for following the live blog. We will update you with the judge’s bail decision when she issues the decree. Kurt Sansone
09:57 Galea Farrugia is now justifying the role of architect Richard Aquilina, a court expert, who had exhibited his report, including a sketch, on the scene of the crime. Aquilina had also drawn up a list of items found in the potato shed, where the three men were arrested in December 2017. He had confirmed that the scene of the crime was secured from all entrances. Kurt Sansone
09:53 The Deputy AG is referring to jurisprudence to validate why such experts were chosen and why they were important to the hearing. Kurt Sansone
09:53 He is talking about Martin Bajada, the IT expert who had been summoned as a witness in the compilation of evidence against the accused. Galea Farrugia says that Bajada's expertise is valid, and by extension, so is his nomination as a main witness. Kurt Sansone
09:51 The magistrate is now hearing the deputy AG's technical pitch, underlying why certain court experts were nominated and why others were turned down from testifying. Kurt Sansone
09:48 The bail submissions have concluded. Judge Edwina Grima will deliver her decree later on. Kurt Sansone
09:43 "My clients have informed me that they are saying that if they sleep in prison during their bail, they don't mind if these hours in prison are not reduced in the final punishment," Cuschieri says, adding that after all, the crime that they are accused of usually comes with life imprisonment. Kurt Sansone
09:41 Defence lawyer William Cuschieri responds: "Just because the investigation is ongoing, doesn't mean that the accused can remain arrested indefinitely." Kurt Sansone
09:40 He adds that if the accused choose to sleep in prison, this could cause "major legal issues" in the future because such night-time detention would have to be considered when it's time for a final punishment when the case concludes. Kurt Sansone
09:39 Galea Farrugia addresses electronic tagging: "This is the prison director's personal initiative. In the case of a pre-trial detention, the court cannot impose electronic tagging if there is no legal framework for it. It's the police who have the authority to see that the accused follow their bail conditions." Kurt Sansone
09:37 The Deputy AG, by way of response, says that the main fear with granting bail is that this case is bigger than the matters at hand. "The investigations are ongoing. There have been major developments. Had they been granted bail before these important developments, there might have been tampering of evidence," Philip Galea Farrugia says. Kurt Sansone
09:35 The Degiorgio brothers, sitting being their lawyer, seem very calm, hands on their lap. Vincent Muscat is sitting alone on the other side of the courtroom, flanked by two security officers. Kurt Sansone
09:35 "One of the bail conditions on the Degiorgios is to submit themselves to electronic tagging. They are ready to sleep in prison if it's too inconvenient for the prison director to monitor them 24/7. They are ready to submit themselves to any other conditions that the court deems necessary," the lawyer says. Kurt Sansone
09:32 Melvin Theuma, the self-proclaimed middleman, had submitted a box to police containing photographs as well as a set of recordings that Theuma had recorded while in the company of alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech. He had done so, he had told the court, as a kind of insurance, out of fear of being betrayed by Fenech and former chief of staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Keith Schembri. Kurt Sansone
09:31 The lawyer tells the court that the middleman's recordings don't mention the Degiorgios and that in either case, they are in the court's possession. "What fear is there that the case can be prejudiced?" Kurt Sansone
09:30 The proof, the lawyer argues, was of a technological nature. "Our case is different. The proof was provided by tech experts: FBI, Vodafone, etc. How can we approach these people to prejudice the case?" Kurt Sansone
09:28 The defence says that the middleman's comments during the compilation of evidence, implying that there were attempts to approach a magistrate to help with bail is "unjust and unfair" on both the magistrate and his clients. Cuschieri says such a statement was not veritable. Kurt Sansone
09:26 "The accusations are serious, but the seriousness should not prevent the accused from getting bail. They have been under preventive arrest for two years now," Cuschieri says. Kurt Sansone
09:25 The magistrate interjects and says that with bail, monitoring should be 24/7, so the electronic tagging facility might prove harder than normal. Kurt Sansone
09:25 Lawyer Cuschieri asks: "If there is a court order to grant bail, does the electronic tagging facility work here?" Kurt Sansone
09:23 The tags, he says, mark where an inmate is at all times. Kurt Sansone
09:19 Dalli says that "the electronic tagging is not a perfect system but it could work to help integrate inmates earlier than usual". Kurt Sansone
09:18 The defence has asked for bail and a decision on this will be handed down by the magistrate. Kurt Sansone
09:17 The prison director, Alexander Dalli, is speaking about electronic tags used in prison. "They are worn around the ankles. We are able to monitor these. As part of the rehabilitation process, prisoners can start working while imprisoned. I am currently testing whether electronic testing works. For the first time in history, prisoners were sent to their families during Christmas time. The electronic tagging is still in the stage of experimentation." Kurt Sansone
09:15 Deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia is in the courtroom. The magistrate has also arrived. Corradino Prison Director Alex Dalli will be testifying. The accused's lawyer, William Cuschieri, is asking the questions. Kurt Sansone
09:12 They are accompanied by four heavy security officers. Kurt Sansone
09:12 The men accused of executing the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, George and Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat have just entered the courtroom. Kurt Sansone
09:11 Good morning. Kurt Sansone

The court heared bail submissions for three men accused of planting and detonating the bomb that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Judge Edwina Grima will decree on the matter at a later stage.

Brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat murdered the journalist on 16 October 2017 by detonating a bomb that was placed inside her car.

The compilation of evidence against the three men was re-opened when middleman Melvin Theuma was granted a presidential pardon to tell all.

It was Theuma who acted as the broker between mastermind Yorgen Fenech and the three men.

Fenech is facing separate murder charges on the same case.

The compilation of evidence against the three men is being heard by Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit. However, today's sitting in front of Judge Edwina Grima is dealing with a bail request by the accused.

More in Court & Police