Security expert's comment raises eyebrows in court

During libel proceedings, a court expert claims he was not part of Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry and yet his submissions indicate he had returned papers to the magistrate

Security advisor John Muscat was testifying in libel proceedings he opened against MaltaToday and Illum
Security advisor John Muscat was testifying in libel proceedings he opened against MaltaToday and Illum

Updated with correct reference to Muscat claims

Eyebrows were raised in court when a man claiming not to have been part of the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder inquiry submitted in court that he returned papers to the inquiring magistrate.

The comment was made by security advisor John Muscat on Monday morning in a libel case he filed against MaltaToday managing editor Saviour Balzan and Illum editor Albert Gauci Cunningham.

Muscat, who was in the courtroom while lawyers were making submissions, was heard saying that he was never part of the Caruana Galizia inquiry.

The case is being heard before Magistrate Rachel Montebello. Lawyer Veronique Dalli is appearing for the defendents while Joseph Zammit Maempel is appearing for Muscat.

Muscat was mentioned in articles written by the two defendants, which outlined the internal tensions within the murder inquiry and a leak was identified when red herrings were fed to selected persons who acted as experts.

According to the MaltaToday article, “Police sources complained that they could not trust some of the court experts appointed to the inquiry: they included John Gera, a health and safety expert who has since resigned from the investigation after Magistrate Neville Camilleri took over the case; but also, John Muscat, a security consultant who is also the brother of former PN campaign manager, now The Shift journalist Caroline Muscat; and former Security Service officer Roberto Critien.”

It was not until the departure of Magistrate Anthony Vella from the investigation that it was possible to identify the leak.

Highly-placed officials working on the murder investigation fed inaccurate information to court experts in a bid to weed out those speaking to reporters and politicians, said the article.

In submissions in court today, Zammit Maempel, for Muscat, argued that his client could not have leaked information to La Repubblica because he resigned in March 2018 and the wrong information was being fed in June.

A few months later he was spoken to by Magistrate Vella over payment details. 

But at one point Muscat, who was in the courtroom, insisted he was never part of the inquiry, to which Dalli asked him whether he was helping the magistrate without an official appointment.

Magistrate Vella relinquished the murder inquiry after being appointed judge at the start of summer.

He was tasked with the Caruana Galizia inquiry after the family had objected to the duty magistrate on the day of the murder – Consuelo Scerri Herrera.

After Vella was elevated to judge, Magistrate Neville Camilleri was tasked with continuing the murder inquiry, which is ongoing despite three people being charged with the journalist’s murder.

Correction: The original story has been changed to correct a reference to John Muscat's testimony. Muscat was not testifying under oath but made his comment in open court while lawyers were making submissions.

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