I followed the live blog and the cross-examination of Keith Arnaud by Jason Azzopardi and Charles Mercieca on the Times of Malta and Malta Today. I have to admit that Malta Today gave a very good live reporting, which was better than that of the Times of Malta.
What struck me most was the number of statements made by Arnaud regarding Yorgen Fenech. Arnaud defends his thesis that Yorgen Fenech was planning to escape from Malta. He states that he found evidence of this in Yorgen Fenech’s Whatsup messages. Up till know, this is fine and may appear as convincing evidence. Arnaud says these messages confirm that Yorgen Fenech was chatting about his escape with somebody who is referred to as K. The presumption is that this is Keith Schembri. Here we have the first hitch in the prosecution’s case. If it is true that Yorgen Fenech was keeping Keith Schembri informed as to what he intended doing, then why did the police not do their best to recover Schembri’s mobile phone? Instead the police accepted Keith Schembri’s explanation that he had lost it. How honest are the police in this statement? Are they credible? If the police recovered Schembri’s phone and found the corresponding messages on Schembri’s phone then the police would have some evidence. Incidentally, K could stand for a number of names from Kevin to Kyle to Kenneth to Katrine to Kate to Konrad to Kristina to Kris and so on and so forth! So in other words the police are assuming it is Keith Schembri without irrefutable proof!
But stating that these messages are only found on Yorgen Fenech’s phone is not enough for the police to make their case. In fact, Arnaud stated in court today that the police did not find Keith Schembri’s phone! In other words, there will always be doubt as to the authenticity of these Whatsapp messages, which according to the police confirm that Yorgen Fenech wanted to escape.
But that is not all. Keith Arnaud informs the court that Yorgen Fenech’s uncle, Ray Fenech, and Yorgen Fenech’s brother Franco, were helping Yorgen Fenech in his escape from Malta. What I found strange here is the fact that it was never reported in the media that Franco Fenech or Ray Fenech were called to police headquarters to be questioned about this version. Nor were they charged with such a crime. Helping a suspect to escape is a crime in Malta!
Next comes the cross-examination of Keith Arnaud by the defence. We get to know another side of the story. Yorgen Fenech was never prevented from leaving the island up to the time of his arrest and it is Keith Arnaud who confirms this. Additionally the defence confronted superintendent Arnaud with evidence from Yorgen Fenech’s phone that Yorgen Fenech, even on the day he was arrested on his boat, intended to come back to Malta as soon as possible. Confronted with such hard facts, Arnaud had no answer.
Therefore, how credible is it to maintain that Yorgen Fenech was planning to escape? Is our police force so foolhardy as to do nothing to prevent such a high profile suspected murderer from trying to escape? Was the build-up to this rumour that Yorgen Fenech was a prime suspect a trap so as to make Yorgen Fenech panic and act in an irrational manner? The defence lawyer asks whether it was Keith Schembri who told Yorgen Fenech that he could leave, but the witness, Keith Arnaud replies that he doesn’t believe that it went like that. Instead, Arnaud adds ‘to the contrary, Fenech wanted to leave discreetly”. But do police investigations and assertions rest on the premise of belief? And on what basis did Keith Arnaud form this belief? I hope he did not form this belief just before the start of this morning’s court session, when he was deep in conversation with the serial-liar Jason Azzopardi!