Judge mandates monthly police reports on investigation into Fenech chat leaks

Madam Justice Edwina Grima has instructed the police commissioner to provide monthly updates on the investigation into the leaks of confidential chats from Yorgen Fenech

Yorgen Fenech
Yorgen Fenech

Madam Justice Edwina Grima has issued an order to the police commissioner, mandating monthly reports on the ongoing investigation into the leaks of confidential chats from Yorgen Fenech's murder case.

The leaks, which were in clear violation of a court ban imposed in 2021, have been a cause for concern, prompting the judge to intervene and emphasise the importance of respecting court orders.

The directive came after Police Inspector Christine Delia, who took over the investigation on March 22, 2023, was unable to provide information on whether anyone had been questioned regarding the leaks in the past three years.

Delia informed the court that criminal charges had been pressed against author and blogger Mark Camilleri for publishing prohibited chats. Delia argued that due to “Camilleri residing overseas,” the police were unable to notify him, however the author was at court only last week.

Efforts to obtain information about anonymous social media accounts on platform X (formerly Twitter) that published the chats faced obstacles, as a formal request from the attorney general's office was also deemed necessary.

Yorgen Fenech, accused of complicity in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, continues to plead not guilty.

The case, originally heading to trial, has been reverted to the pre-trial stage as Fenech's defence presents new evidence.

During the court proceedings, Fenech's lawyer, Charles Mercieca, raised concerns about the lengthy duration of the investigation into the leaks, dating back to 2021.

Inspector Delia responded that she was not involved in the case during that period but assured that investigations were still ongoing.

The court expressed frustration over the persisting leaks and warned about the potential impact on the fairness of the proceedings.

Madam Justice Edwina Grima emphasised the need to uphold the court order, stating that repeated breaches could jeopardize the integrity of the legal process.

Fenech's lawyer also brought attention to a recent leak on January 26, 2024, just before the court hearing. However, Inspector Delia claimed unawareness of the incident.

In response to the escalating concerns, the judge issued a final order directing the Police Commissioner to submit monthly reports on the progress of the investigation.

The court records, accessible only to the involved parties and their lawyers, were emphasised as confidential, and the judge underscored the critical need to address the repeated breaches promptly.

The legal proceedings include prosecutors Anthony Vella and Godwin Cini representing the Attorney General's office, defence counsel comprising Charles Mercieca, Gianluca Caruana Curran, and Marion Camilleri, and parte civile representation by lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia.