Live: Middleman in Daphne murder to continues testifying as court hears recordings of phone calls

The middleman who has been granted immunity in exchange of information related to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia will continue testifying today in the case against the three men accused of the assassination.

Melvin Theuma started his testimony last week in the compilation of evidence against Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio and Vince Muscat. The case is being heard by Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit.

Last week, Theuma testified about the way he contacted Alfred Degiorgio to carry out the murder after being given the go-ahead by Yorgen Fenech. 

Theuma is also testifying in the case against Yorgen Fenech, who is accused of organising the murder.

William Cuschieri is representing George and Alfred Degiorgio. Josette Demicoli is also representing George Degiorgio. Police inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are prosecuting.

Kathleen Grima and Matthew Brincat are assisting Melvin Theuma. Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are appearing parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family. Marc Sant is legal aid to Muscat.

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12.01pm: Lawyers representing the Caruana Galizia are asking questions to Melvin Theuma. Jason Azzopardi says that in one of the recordings there is a mention of ix-Xih. Is this in reference to the Prime Minister, Azzopardi askes, to which Theuma replies “yes”. This was in reference to the fact that Yorgen Fenech said he would approach the PM if necessary.

12pm: Sitting continues

11.42am: The sitting is temporarily suspended.

11.41am: Inspector Arnaud tells the court that he has no more questions. 

11.37am: In other calls, George Degiorgio is heard being angry that he did not get bail.

11.30pm: In another call between Alfred and Melvin, they speak about bail and the fact that the accused didn’t get it. In yet another call, Melvin tells Alfred that he is insisting with Yorgen about the bail.

11.22pm: Other calls between the Degiorgios and Theuma are heard by the court. In one of them Alfred is heard saying – “I think something can be done about that”, with Melvin explaining to the court it was about the bail money. In another, Alfred asked Melvin to think about him in relation to money.

live middleman in daphne murder to continues testifying as court hears recordings of phone calls - Live: Middleman in Daphne murder to continues testifying as court hears recordings of phone calls

11.16am: The court listens to another call in which Melvin speaking about a permit to go to prison to visit the Degiorgios.

11.12am: Another call, on the 3rd of May, is being heard by the court. Melvin is heard saying on the call to Alfred “I am going to do that”. Melvin clarified to the court that “that” refers to a prison permit. The call was made to Mario’s home and two birds can be heard in the background.

11.06am: When Melvin was at Mario Degiorgio’s house they would call the Degiorgios in prison and say hello. The court is now listening to the telephone calls. Inspector Arnaud said there are several calls but the court is listening to particular segments which Arnaud wants Melvin to clarify – the first is on 22 March 2018 – 9.46am, between Alfred and Melvin. Melvin is heard asking Alfred if he is ok. Melvin says on the phone call that he will sort it out with Mario. When asked in court by Arnaud, Melvin then clarifies that he was referring to the money he was giving to Mario.

11.03am: Theuma says that Yorgen sent him (Melvin) to pass on a message to Mario Degiorgio to tell his two brothers, accused of the murder, that the third accused, Vince Muscat, was talking. There were no other instructions from Yorgen.

11.01am: Yorgen still kept on giving money to Melvin for Mario Degiorgio, Theuma says, adding that he never got any money but actually had paid out of his pocket at times. The money for the accused was always given by Melvin to keep them happy, he tells the court.

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10.57am: Melvin gave some papers to Inspector Arnaud showing photos of messages that Yorgen sent him. The photos were taken by Melvin. Melvin said that Yorgen Fenech had information that Melvin’s phone was being tapped. Melvin had used the word “tradiment” (betrayal) in a mobile phone conversation (not with Yorgen although he did not remember who it was ) and Yorgen mentioned this word. Theuma had used the word betrayal in reference to Yorgen because he was scared that he would kill  him or he would end up in prison. “Liked he killed Daphne Caruana Galizia he could kill me” Theuma told the court. Yorgen told him to make a call explaining that “betrayal” was intended to mean that Yorgen had not allowed him to have a second taxi at Portomaso. “He (Yorgen) once even told me that the issue of the (Muscat’s) pardon was being put to cabinet.” 

10.54am: Two weeks ago Melvin showed the police the route to Bidnija and where the lookout point overlooking the Caruana Galizia house was, as was shown to Melvin by Alfred Degiorgio. Melvin was shown the document made by the CID officer presented earlier and cnfirmed the locations and photos.

10.49am: Melvin has some papers that are receipts given to him by Mario Degiorgio confirming that the money given to Mario by Melvin had been exchanged. There was one receipt that was given to Melvin that had been exchanged before he knew Mario. Arnaud asked why he had it and Melvin replied that Mario Degiorgio had given them to him all together. Mario later stopped giving Melvin receipts but Melvin did not ask for any.

10.43am: Melvin said he only met Anca once. Mario Degiorgio had called Melvin to tell him that he needed 15k for Anca, George’s partner. Melvin said he had 15k to pass on, and he gave them to a woman to pass on to another intermediary before it arrived at the Degiorgios. Melvin said he was abroad at the time, that’s why he sent the woman.

10.40am: Melvin Theuma is led inside the courtroom. Theuma says that when he met Mario Degiorgio he used to speak to the Degiorgios, while they were in prison, on the phone to say hello. The money to the Degiorgios used to be passed through il-Lolly but then he got to know Mario Degiorgio and he started passing the money directly to him. This was March 2018. Melvin also used to give food to Mario for the Degiorgios.

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10.34am: A member of the CID, Sandro Mamo, is testifying. He said Inspector Arnaud told him to go to Bidnija with Melvin Theuma, who showed them the lookout point overlooking the house where Daphne Caruana Galizia used to live. The CID officer said the lookout point is far away from house and one can only see car movements. He presented a document of the route Melvin showed him, the one Melvin had taken with one of the accused, Alfred Degiorgio, as well as the lookout point. The route taken by the officers when they went with Melvin was filmed and was presented to the court.

10.26am: A representative from the prison control room, Clint Zahra, is to testify. He presented a list of telephone calls that were made by the Degiorgios as requested by police. They were presented on a CD together with a document of the call-logs. The witness explains the procedures of how inmates make telephone calls. They can only make outgoing calls, and cannot receive any. The calls are made from 815am to 1150 and from 1300 till 1900. The calls are identified through a pin code which is given to each inmate. Legal aid Marc Sant is asking witness if pin code can be used by someone else. Witness replied that although it is possible, it is not allowed. The CDs include recordings (audio) of all the calls listed in the document.

10.20am: Joseph Brincat is-Sukku takes the stand. Brincat knows Pace because they are from the same area and knows Melvin Theuma because they both like horse-racing. Brincat said he would pass the money to the accused; it happened about six times; sometimes every week sometimes every fortnight. Sometimes it would be 200 sometimes 300, the witness says. Receipts were exchanged, and the witness said he would just look at the amount written.

10.10am: Another witness, Lawrence Pace il-Lolly, is testifying that he knows Melvin from horse-racing. Melvin gave him 300 euros on five occasions and told him to pass them on to the Degiorgio family, via a Joseph Brincat is-Sukku. This took place in early 2018. They used to meet at a shop in Marsa.He used to be at this shop all the time and every 10 days Melvin would give him 300 to pass on to the Degiorgios. Melvin would ask him if he had passed the money and he (the witness) used to confirm that he had passed it on. Melvin used to trust him. Receipts were exchanged with the accused’s names and the amount of money (100 for each accused).

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10.02am: The man who was given money by the previous witness is now testifying. He says he works with Melvin Theuma and he knows him in relation to horse racing. He has known him for about 5 years. Melvin told him that he is going to send a girl to give him some money, which he had to give to someone else.  He didn’t open the bag with the cash and he doesn’t know the man he went to meet to give the money. The man came to meet him in a car. He gave the bag with money to this man. He did not know the reason why this money was being given to this man. Melvin never told him. He didn’t speak to the man he gave the money to. Melvin gave him the name, but he doesn’t remember it. But he knows he identified him when he met him by his name. Asked what number he called him from and if it was registered, he said it was not.

9.58am: The witness says Melvin called her and asked her to meet with someone. She met him near Regina auto dealer in the evening and gave him money, 15k. She didn’t know what the money, in cash, was for. She gave him the money and left. She told him: “I have 15k to give to you from Melvin”.

9.55am: She is saying she knows nothing about the case expect what is being said in the media

9.53am: The witness is not being investigated in relation to the murder. But any questions that her lawyer feels could incriminate her if she answers them, then she will not.

9.49am: Prosecution is asking for a witness to be heard. The magistrate concedes that the name of the witness is not made public.

9.45am: Magistrate Stafrace Zammit walks in.

9.31am: Daphne’s husband Peter, two of her sons and her sisters are in the courtroom too. Police inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra have arrived, as did the third accused, Vince Muscat.

9.30am: The degiorgio brothers, two of the accused, are taken inside the courtroom.

9.28am: Daphne’s parents Michael and Rose Marie Vella walk into the courtroom.

9.20am: The courtroom is filling up. Some lawyers involved in the case are already inside.

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