Caruana Galizia family says murder suspect’s bid to remove court expert is ‘desperate move’

Alfred Degiorgio ‘il-Fulu’ is attacking appointment of court expert with criminal record to claim breach of fair trial

Alfred Degiorgio (first from left) seen with murder suspects Vince Muscat (second from left) and George Degiorgio (second from right)
Alfred Degiorgio (first from left) seen with murder suspects Vince Muscat (second from left) and George Degiorgio (second from right)

The lawyer for murder suspect Alfred Degiorgio ‘il-Fulu’ has argued in a constitutional case for breach of fair trial, that Martin Bajada, a court expert in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case, should not have been appointed.

William Cuschieri filed two separate applications attacking Bajada’s suitability on the basis of his criminal record, and on the Caruana Galizia family’s refusal to hand over the journalist’s laptop. “The case against Alfred Degiorgio is uniquely based on cell data records and cell tower dumps,” Cuschieri told the court, presided by Judge Lorraine Schembri Orland.

“Whenever the various court experts involved in the case made a request, it was always done together with Bajada. Bajada, first alone, and then with the assistance of the FBI, decided what data should be collected, and what the result of its analysis should be. Based on the analysis, three people were accused of the murder.

“The issue with Bajada is that he has a criminal record, and Alfred Degiorgio is arguing that if the expert is not beyond reproach, the should not have been made an expert in the case.”

A sentence on a previous court case Bajada had been involved in had laid down that the court expert was not beyond reproach, Cuschieri said.

“If he was deemed to be not beyond reproach in that case, how can he be so in the [more serious] case of a murder trial?” Cuschieri asked, “If there is some doubt, we should be prudent – better safe than sorry.”

“If the investigation is to be fool-proof, it has to be so in every aspect. Bajada should not have been appointed, should not still be in the case, and should not have communicated with other experts.”

Cuschieri said the case against Degiorgio was made on the basis of the evidence gathered by Bajada.

Maurizio Cordina, appearing on behalf of the Caruana Galizia family, however, argued that the Bajada argument was a “desperate manoeuvre”.

“The prosecution is duty bound to bring forth the best evidence against the accused,” he argued, insisting that Bajada and the FBI did not in fact work together.

The case continues tomorrow.

Caruana Galizia family request to participate in case

Daphne Caruana Galizia's widower Peter
Daphne Caruana Galizia's widower Peter

The Caruana Galizia family have filed a legal recourse requesting that they be allowed to participate in all stages of the Constitutional case.

This was opposed by Degiorgio, with his lawyer arguing that the family were interested in the outcome of the case – not on its merits – and did therefore not have a right to be present during the entire proceedings.

The court will decide at the next sitting on whether it will uphold the family’s request.

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