Caruana Galizia murder: Magistrate sends the acts of the case against Degiorgio brothers back to Criminal Court

In a brief sitting the defence for George and Alfred Degiorgio insists Melvin Theuma's recordings are played in full after magistrate rules out the option and sends the acts of the case back to the Criminal Court

Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio
Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio

The compilation of evidence hearing against George and Alfred Degiorgio ended abruptly today after the defence continued to insist on having all Melvin Theuma recordings played in court before the cross-examination can continue.

The magistrate ruled against the request and sent the acts of the case back to the Criminal Court. A decision will have to be taken on the stand adopted by the accused.

The Degiorgio brothers are accused of planting and triggering the bomb that killed journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017.

Pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma was expected to continue testifying. In yesterday's sitting, murder associate Vince Muscat, known as il-Koħħu, testifed against the brothers.

George Degiorgio 55, from St Paul's Bay, known as Iċ-Ċiniż, Alfred Degiorgio, 53, also St Paul's Bay, known as il-Fulu, are charged with murder and a number of charges relating to explosives.

Previously Muscat pleaded guilty to Caruana Galizia murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a plea bargain agreement. 

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit is presiding.

Superintendent Keith Arnaud and Inspector Kurt Zahra, aided by the office of the Attorney General are prosecuting.

Lawyer Marc Sant is appearing for Vince Muscat. Lawyer William Cuschieri is appearing for the Degiorgio brothers.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family.

READ MORE: Caruana Galizia murder: Koħħu speaks of plans in 2017 to murder 'a police officer'

10:05 Given that the magistrate has sent the acts of the case back to the Criminal Court, it appears we are done for today. Thank you for following. Kurt Sansone
09:54 The court will pronounce itself on the position taken by the defence, despite a clear decree from the Criminal Court. However, it cannot force the defence to do something it doesn't want to do. The court declares the renvoi as being finished and the acts are remitted to the Criminal Court. The magistrate leaves the courtroom. Kurt Sansone
09:51 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi for the parte civile joins the arguments and reasoning brought forward by the AG, because these are in line with the law, “the fruit of reason and in the interests of the administration of justice”. Kurt Sansone
09:50 Deputy Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia replies: “The position taken goes directly against two decrees by the Criminal Court through which the same court ordered that the cross-examination of Melvin Theuma is definitively concluded by the defence. The defence has already cross-examined Melvin Theuma, which cross-examination was only reserved for further questioning. In addition, in the light of the decree given yesterday by the Criminal Court, nothing is stopping the defence from playing snippets of the recordings to Melvin Theuma who will be in a position to confirm under oath and identify and answer every question which could be made to him by the defence lawyers. For this reason, the prosecution feels that this is an attempt to draw out proceedings by the accused and therefore this court should declare that in the circumstances... the cross-examination of Melvin Theuma is concluded definitively.” Kurt Sansone
09:48 Lawyer William Cuschieri, who is appearing for the Degiorgio brothers, dictates a note: “With regards to the first part of the decree, about the merits of the recordings allegedly taken by witness Melvin Theuma, the accused remain of the same opinion and position that these recordings must be heard in the courtroom and confirmed on oath by who claims to have recorded them and the voices heard on the recordings be identified. It is only after, that the cross-examination of Melvin Theuma can take place. Therefore, the defence declares that at this stage it is not going to continue the cross-examination of Melvin Theuma. This position should not be interpreted as a renunciation of their right to cross-examination of the witness, to the contrary, they reserve all their rights in this regard.” Kurt Sansone
09:46 The court has denied a request to hear all the recordings made by Mevin Theuma before Vince Muscat il-Koħħu continues to testify. Muscat testified yesterday in this case against the Degiorgio brothers. The defence wants the recordings to be heard and Theuma to identify people heard talking in the recordings, which according to transcripts are identified as ‘Person A’ and ‘Person B’. Kurt Sansone
09:42 Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit enters the courtroom and the sitting begins. Kurt Sansone
09:42 The Degiorgio brothers are brought inside the courtroom, escorted by heavy security. Kurt Sansone
09:41 Good morning. Kurt Sansone