Yorgen Fenech: Schembri made ‘considerable efforts’ to stop him passing information to police

Yorgen Fenech has filed a court writ claiming Keith Schembri had made ‘considerable efforts’ to stop him from passing on incriminating information to the police

Yorgen Fenech and Keith Schembri
Yorgen Fenech and Keith Schembri

Accused “mastermind” in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder, Yorgen Fenech, has claimed that former chief of staff Keith Schembri had made “considerable efforts” to stop Fenech from passing on incriminating information to the police, including interventions by third persons and through promises.

This had led to Fenech being impeded “for some time and in a most deceptive manner” if not also in breach of the law, from passing on all the information he had to the competent authorities, he claims.

This emerged in an action for judicial review filed by Fenech against the apparent refusal of his request for a presidential pardon, in return for information which could implicate Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s former Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri.

In a sworn application to the First Hall of the Civil Court, Fenech, who described himself as a “person of interest” in the homicide investigation, said that he had not been informed of the outcome to his request, but that the media appeared to have been informed that it would not be granted.

He argued that he had the right to a fair hearing, “free of the interference of political interests, if not frankly direct personal interests and a serious conflict of interest.” Therefore the situation whereby the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, which up till a few hours ago still had Keith Schembri as a member, also decided whether to grant or reject his offer to tell all, was “worrying,” he said.

Because Schembri had, until recently, been the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and a member of the Cabinet which processed his request, he said he felt that his right to a fair hearing was being breached “in the most clear and blatant manner.”

The integrity of the investigation had suffered serious prejudice by the fact that he had practically been forced to ask the Prime Minister for the opportunity to testify against one of his closest aides, and one he had chosen, appointed and defended for many years.

“No amount of manoeuvres, media stunts and political acrobatics could detract from the fact that the organ which decided on the presidential pardon was Joseph Muscat’s cabinet, of which Schembri was until recently the chief of staff. One of the other two protagonists in the evaluation process was the Commissioner of police who was also appointed by the Cabinet, added the lawyers.

Fenech asked the court to declare the decision to refuse Fenech a pardon as null and without effect and to have his request be reconsidered.

Lawyers Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran signed the application.

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