02 Dec YORGEN FENECH’S PHONE DATA EXTRACTED IN OCTOBER, COURT TOLD
Data on Yorgen Fenech’s phone was extracted by a Europol expert in late October of this year and the process took around three days to complete, a court heard on Wednesday.
The phone – a black iPhone – was seized as part of the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation in November 2019 after Fenech was arrested on suspicion of having masterminded the murder.
It was taken to Europol headquarters at The Hague, Netherlands for data extraction and analysis, as forensic experts from the EU law enforcement agency were unable to run those processes with equipment they had with them when the flew to Malta following Fenech’s arrest.
Europol experts had previously testified that they extracted around four terabytes worth of data from a range of devices seized as part of the murder probe into Fenech, who is pleading not guilty to murder charges.
On Wednesday, a court heard the cross-examination of two of those experts.
Giuseppe Totaro testified that:
- Fenech’s phone was left in an unsealed bag while it was being worked on, as best practice was for phones to be kept switched on and in aeroplane mode when extracting data.
- The task was reassigned to him from a colleague, Yulia Toma, in October, after an “issue” arose with her appointment.
- He could not say whether Toma had worked on the phone before it reached him.
Konstantinos Petrou testified that:
- Europol Malta did not have access to extracted data
- Europol’s involvement was requested by Malta and green-lit on November 21, 2019
- He finished work on exhibits assigned to him on November 24, 2020
- Europol colleague Sami Armoyne served as a liaison with Maltese police
After almost six hours of testimony, magistrate Rachel Montebello adjourned the case to January 12, 2021.
A request made by Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers for bail was rejected, with the court saying nothing substantial had changed since Fenech’s most recent request for bail, made in September.
Investigations in the case were ongoing and the possibility of tampering with evidence was a “concrete risk,” the magistrate said.