Retired judge to analyse Daphne Caruana Galizia’s WhatsApp for threatening messages

Both parties in the case agreed that former judge Michael Mallia will be appointed to analyse the murdered journalist's WhatsApp messages

Retired judge Michael Mallia has been appointed by the courts to analyse messages received by Daphne Caruana Galizia while ensuring the protection of her sources
Retired judge Michael Mallia has been appointed by the courts to analyse messages received by Daphne Caruana Galizia while ensuring the protection of her sources

Retired judge Michael Mallia will be analysing messages received by murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in search of threats against the journalist, whilst also protecting her sources, a court has decided.

The unusual step was agreed to by both parties in the compilation of evidence against the men accused of her murder.

Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio and Vince Muscat stand accused of planting and detonating the car bomb which claimed the journalist’s life as she left her home in Bidnija in October 2017.

In a relatively brief sitting before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit this morning, in which a number of technical witnesses were heard, homicide squad inspector Kurt Zahra asked the court to appoint “an expert, a former judge or magistrate who had worked in the field of criminal law”, to analyse messages received by Caruana Galizia and to decide whether they could be deemed to be threats.

The order was requested since during a previous sitting, court expert Martin Bajada, who had downloaded the data from the cloud, told the magistrate that he had not been authorised to analyse whether the messages on it constituted threats or not, upon being asked this by the defence.

Defence lawyer William Cuschieri also argued that the onus to prove the accreditation of every piece of equipment and every laboratory used during this case be proven.

The compilation of evidence will continue on May 22 

Lawyer William Cuschieri is appearing for Alfred Degiorgio, known as il-Fulu, 53.

Lawyer Martin Fenech is appearing for Vince Muscat, known as il-Koħħu, 55.

Lawyer Josette Sultana is appearing for George Degiorgio, known as iċ-Ċiniz, 55.

Lawyer Philip Galea Farrugia from the Attorney General's Office and Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are appearing for the prosecution.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile.

This article has been updated to reflect the fact that the messages which will be examined were downloaded from WhatsApp and not from her mobile phone, as initially stated. The error is regretted.

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