Magistrate rejects Yorgen Fenech's bid to investigate Melvin Theuma for perjury

Yorgen Fenech, who is currently facing charges of complicity in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has been unsuccessful in his attempt to have the police investigate key witness Melvin Theuma for perjury

A magistrate has rejected Yorgen Fenech’s bid for a court order to have the police investigate Melvin Theuma for perjury.

Fenech, who is indicted in separate proceedings for complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, had filed challenge proceedings in November 2021, in an attempt to force the police to prosecute Theuma.

Fenech’s lawyers had accused Theuma of “inconsistencies and contradictions” in his testimony, filing a criminal complaint at the Valletta police station, urging the police to investigate and charge Theuma for perjury and swearing false oaths.

Theuma had testified before the magisterial inquiry into the fatal explosion in Bidnija which claimed Caruana Galizia’s life, as well as in the compilations of evidence against alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech, criminals George and Alfred Degiorgio, and the Agius brothers, known as tal-Maksar, who had allegedly procured the bomb for the Degiorgios.

In their criminal complaint and in the subsequent court application, Fenech’s lawyers had accused Theuma of misleading the inquiring magistrate by lying about the existence of recordings which pointed to the involvement of third parties in the murder.

But on Wednesday, magistrate Rachel Montebello dismissed the challenge proceedings, ruling that there was no prima facie basis for such an investigation to be ordered at at this stage.

Theuma, a former taxi driver, had received a presidential pardon in exchange for his testimony about the 2017 murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, for which Fenech is indicted, and is the prosecution’s star witness in that case.

He had testified in several cases against Fenech and others allegedly involved in the murder.

Fenech’s lawyers had claimed that Theuma had given false testimony both during the inquiry n genre as well as during the compilation of evidence against their client and had requested that the court order the Police Commissioner to investigate and prosecute Theuma for taking a false oath and perjury.

Theuma’s lawyers had then hit back at Fenech, filing a criminal complaint accusing the Tumas magnate of calumny and intimidation of witnesses.

Magistrate Nadine Lia delivered her judgement in Fenech’s challenge earlier today, ruling that his police challenge was being rejected “at this stage, because there was no prima facie basis for the Police Commissioner to take action against Melvin Theuma.”

Fenech’s lawyers have indicated their intention to appeal the decision.

Inspector Daryl Borg represented the Commissioner of Police. Lawyers Charles Mercieca, Gianluca Caruana Curran and Marion Camilleri appeared for Fenech.