Yorgen Fenech, who stands charged with conspiracy to organize the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, has also requested the recusal of the magistrate assigned to preside over the compilation of evidence.
Magistrate Nadine Lia has been chosen by lots to preside over the process, which is scheduled to start at 9am on Wednesday.
The Caruana Galizia family has asked for the magistrate’s recusal because her father-in-law, Pawlu Lia, is the Prime Minister’s personal lawyer.
Fenech has made the same argument in his request for recusal, which was filed by his lawyers, Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran.
Legal sources said it was very rare for both the accused and the parte civile to request the recusal of the presiding magistrate.
The sources also said it was strange that the compilation was scheduled for Wednesday at 9am, just two hours before middleman Melvin Theuma is scheduled to testify in the case brought against the three men accused of murdering the journalist.
It was explained that this situation might also lead to security issues at the law court, since several guards will be required to cover two high-profile cases heard almost simultaneously.
If no decision is taken before the start of the 9am case, the recusal request will have to be discussed at the start of the sitting.
Fenech is, in the meantime, challenging Cabinet’s rejection of his presidential pardon request. The 17 Black owner says he would spill the beans on the involvement of government members in the murder. He has also written to President George Vella, asking that he bypasses Cabinet and grants him the pardon.
It has also been stated that the police are still actively investigating claims made by Fenech against former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri. But questions have been raised as to why Schembri was released without charge, rather than be placed under police bail.
Sources said certain evidence that is in the hands of investigators seems to prove that Fenech was telling the truth on Schembri but may not be enough for a successful prosecution. They said that granting a presidential pardon to Fenech might be the key to a successful investigation against Schembri.
Original article found on The Malta Independent