Court expert cleared to continue working on Caruana Galizia murder case

The ruling was given in respect to a case filed by Alfred Degiorgio, one of the men charged with Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder, who argued court expert Martin Bajada's appointment had violated his fundamental human rights

A judge has cleared court expert Martin Bajada to continue his work in both the magisterial inquiry and the compilation of evidence relating to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Judge Silvio Meli gave the ruling in the Constitutional case filed in March 2018, by Alfred Degiorgio, one of the men accused of the journalist’s murder. Degiorgio’s lawyers argued that Bajada's appointment to the case violated their client's fundamental human rights.

Bajada is a highly-regarded IT and mobile phone expert who continues to enjoy the trust of several members of Malta's judiciary. He was convicted of theft and fraud back in 1993 and this had been successfully used to challenge his appointments in the past. The expert regained his standing in January 2017 when the Court of Appeal, in Police vs Franklin Gauci, presided by judge Edwina Grima had differentiated between situations where the expert is appointed to carry out work that had subjective elements and ones where experts are simply there to confirm objective facts like call profiles. The court had held that in the latter situation, there was no basis for the substitution of Bajada.

This position was confirmed in March 2017 by another sentence by the superior Court of Appeal in Republic vs Borus. In that case, the superior court of appeal had been presided by the same judge who had decided Chetcuti Bonavita vs Fenech Adami et- the first case which had ordered the removal of Bajada from the case due to his UK conviction for having falsified a signature.

Judge Meli made numerous references to case law to highlight that in the circumstances there was no danger to Degiorgio’s human rights, dismissing the application.

Degiorgio's lawyers had also objected to the fact that foreign experts had been working in tandem with Bajada, in the compilation of evidence for the criminal case.

Bajada had been appointed by the inquiring magistrate the day after the journalist’s assassination on 16 October 2017. His work was crucial in leading the police to arrest 10 suspects and the subsequent arraignment of three of them: Degiorgio and his brother George, and Vince Muscat.

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