Malta media murder trial reopens after false starts | News | DW | 20.12.2017
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Malta media murder trial reopens after false starts

After being delayed twice, the pretrial hearing into the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has begun. Evidence from the chief investigator described a bomb that was triggered from a boat off the coast.

Investigators in the pretrial hearing into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia began laying out their evidence on Tuesday, saying a bomb used to kill the anti-corruption blogger was most likely triggered by a call from a boat off the coast.

The proceedings had been delayed twice in the past week because the first two magistrates assigned to the case had been forced to withdraw, after it was found that they had been mentioned by Galizia in her blog.

Three men, brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio and Vince Muscat, were arrested earlier this month in connection with the murder. All three men have pleaded not guilty to the killing.

Chief investigator Keith Arnaud told the court that a team from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had been brought in to help solve the crime.

Read more: Three charged with killing journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia

Watch video 04:32

Malta: Death of a journalist

Text message to bomb

The FBI has focused its investigation on a phone number that received a text at the time of the explosion in Bidnija, in northern Malta.

Read more: Malta's Deputy PM: 'Freedom of expression is threatened'

According to police, the phone number was not attached to a cell phone but to a circuit board used in remote-control devices. On the day of the explosion, the device was switched on at 2 a.m. local time and went off the grid at the time of the blast. A piece of the circuit board was found in the wreckage of Galizia's car.

Cell phone data obtained by authorities suggested the explosive device was triggered by a call from off the coast. Footage from a CCTV camera showed a boat owned by the Degiorgio brothers putting out to sea at around 8 a.m. on the day of the murder. It was still at sea at 2:50 p.m. and was off the coast at the time of the explosion.

Galizia's family has said the people who ordered the killing remain at large.

The hearing will resume on Wednesday.

av/cmk (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)

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