Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind behind the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and his lawyers are still hoping their presidential pardon request will be accepted but, should this fail, a plea bargain will be put forward, sources have told The Malta Independent on Sunday.
A plea bargain would require a guilty plea submission in hope of a reduced sentence in exchange for information. Sources said that it had been too early to put forward a guilty plea but a plea bargain is expected in the coming weeks, should the presidential pardon not be accepted.
At the end of November, Yorgen Fenech, through his lawyers, called on the courts to declare a decision by Cabinet to reject his presidential pardon request illegal. This case is still ongoing.
Pardon not given as Fenech’s information was inconsistent
Sources have told this newsroom that a presidential pardon was not given since much of what Fenech told the police was inconsistent. Furthermore, Fenech’s version of events changed several times along the course of the interrogation, Arnaud had told a court.
A plea bargain request must be put forward by the defence team to the attorney general, who must be the person to make the final decision. Sources have said that it would make sense for all parties involved if a plea bargain is given.
Corruption and money laundering information could be used in plea deal
While the information on the murder given by Fenech seems to be inconsistent, corruption and money laundering information could still be up his sleeve to reveal should he get the plea bargain, sources said.
When filing the case to nullify Cabinet’s decision, Fenech’s lawyers, Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran, who signed the application, explained on behalf of their client, that Fenech was refused a presidential pardon since it is the prime minister who decides, and then advises the President.
They said that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is a very close friend of former chief of staff Keith Schembri, whom Fenech had implicated in the murder of the journalist. The lawyers also pointed out that Cabinet members and others have worked closely with Schembri for several years.
Cabinet had rejected Fenech’s second pardon request after being briefed by the attorney general and the police commissioner about the criminal investigation. Muscat had said that he had taken a step back from the pardon request, and let Cabinet decide. He had previously turned down Fenech’s first request for a presidential pardon.
Fenech’s lawyers had said that Cabinet should not decide on a pardon request filed by someone who wants to spill the beans on government members. They also said that Fenech is willing to give information on Schembri – the same person who had to decide on his pardon request.
Fenech argued that he has a right to a fair hearing and for his request to be treated objectively, and free from political interference. He said he was forced to ask for a presidential pardon in return for information on a person that had spent years defending and who was, until recently, a member of Cabinet.
He also said Schembri had tried, through third persons, to stop Fenech from testifying against him.
Fenech has also asked President George Vella to accept his pardon request, bypassing cabinet. However, no statement has been issued by the President’s office about this, and legal experts have said the President can’t issue a pardon directly.