Yorgen Fenech’s dark web arms case to be heard behind closed doors

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A criminal case against Yorgen Fenech over his alleged purchase of weapons and grenades on the dark web will be heard behind closed doors, a court ruled on Friday.

Prosecutors in the case against Fenech, also accused of complicity in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, have called for the case to be heard behind closed doors.

Inspector Omar Zammit told the court it was necessary because of the sensitivity of the case and the testimony that would form part of it.

Fenech’s lawyers did not oppose this request and magistrate Nadine Lia accepted.

This was the first hearing in the case, after Fenech pleaded not guilty to charges late last month.

Prosecutors say they have evidence Fenech inquired about purchasing a Glock pistol and silences, Scorpion rifles, two grenades and 800 rounds from black market dealers online, and paid for these items. using Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

There is no evidence that the guns ever reached Malta.

Fenech is also said to have ordered a highly toxic substance online – potassium cyanide.

He would have placed these orders in 2018.


As it happened

Live blog ends

9:28 The briefest of live blogging is interrupted by prosecutors’ demand to press for hearings to be held behind closed doors.

The fact that the court ruled on this request also suggests that Lia will not refrain from this case.

That’s all about us today. Thanks for joining us.


That’s it

9:25 Inspector Zammit tells the magistrate that all testimony, including his, must be kept in private.

And that’s all we can take from this case. The rest will take place out of public view.


Case to be heard in camera

9:23 a.m. Magistrate Lia takes note of this request and declares that in view of the sensitivity of the case, she will maintain it.

This means that everyone – including us – must leave the courtroom.

Discussions will continue in private.


Prosecutors want case to be heard behind closed doors

9:22 An unexpected request from the prosecution: they want the case to be heard completely behind closed doors.

Prosecutors say they need this to happen as investigations are still ongoing and some key witnesses have yet to testify.

The defense does not oppose this request.

The ball is now in the court…. to research.


Court in session

9:19 Magistrate Nadine Lia takes her place on the bench, and the hearing can begin.


Lawyers in court

9:12 Inspectors Omar Zammit and Geoffrey Cutajar will pursue this matter, and they are in court.

Fenech’s lawyers, Charles Mercieca, Gianluca Caruana Curran and Marion Camilleri are also present.


Will the magistrate abstain?

9:08 am The court, which will be headed by magistrate Nadine Lia, must begin to hear the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech on his alleged importation of weapons.

But there’s a good chance the magistrate will dismiss this one: Lia, who is the daughter-in-law of the lawyer who represents the Labor Party and Joseph Muscat, has abstained every time she has been called to presiding over a case related to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.


Welcome

9:04 am Hello and welcome to this live blog. We are at the Valletta courthouse this morning.

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