Judge denies Yorgen Fenech bail

Judge Giovanni Grixti has refused a bail request by Daphne Caruana Galizia murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech, insisting the fear of absconding and tampering with evidence outweigh other considerations

Murder suspect Yorgen Fenech has been denied bail (File photo)
Murder suspect Yorgen Fenech has been denied bail (File photo)

A judge of the Criminal Court has denied the latest bail request filed by alleged Daphne Caruana Galizia murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech.

In a decree handed down on Thursday afternoon, Mr Justice Giovanni Grixti said the gravity of the crimes Fenech is accused of, the clear danger of him fleeing Malta and the danger of him committing further crimes and tampering with evidence outweigh the other considerations in favour of granting bail.

“For these reasons, the request is denied,” the judge ruled.

Grixti heard bail submissions on Wednesday, the same day that the AG filed the bill of indictment against Fenech in which it requested a life sentence for complicity in Caruana Galizia’s murder.

In the run-up to Grixti’s decree, the judge’s impartiality was put into question by Matthew Caruana Galizia, who released a boat transfer certificate showing Grixti having bought a yacht from Fenech’s father in 2008.

Parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi also wrote to the Chief Justice, claiming that Grixti did not follow judicial procedures and should have abstained from hearing the bail application.

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However, in the decree handed down this afternoon, Grixti noted that the Attorney General had correctly observed that the 20-month period cited by the defence had been interrupted three times by the accused’s legal filings.

“Therefore, the accused is not correct in saying that he has been under arrest for over 20 months for the purposes of Section 575 of the Criminal Code,” the judge said.
“In any case and connected to this, is the verbal declaration by the AG in the 18 August 2021 sitting that precisely that day, the Bill of Indictment had been issued against the accused. Therefore the 20-month period once again starts to run from that date,” the judge observed.
The court said it was well aware of the local and European jurisprudence on keeping individuals under arrest and the proportionality of this vis-a-vis human rights.

But in this case, the AG had shown that there was a clear danger of the accused fleeing the islands. 
The third-party guarantee provided by Fenech’s mother was of no comfort to that revealed by the AG, said the court, in view of the danger that the accused commits further crimes whilst on bail as well as his foreign connections.

Bail was denied.