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Leaked recordings: Who benefits?

There are three parties that have access to the Melvin Theuma tapes presented by the prosecution in court in the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech: the police, the prosecution and lawyers acting parte civile, as well as the defence.

On Sunday, in yet another twist in what is fast becoming a sordid farce that is the investigation of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the prosecution of those involved, selected recordings were leaked.

The question that’s important to ask, as always, is who benefits from the leak?

It seems important to question a number of things presented in the recordings, as well as how they were presented, before we rush to conclusions.

Each of the five recordings uploaded to Soundcloud was an edited 30-second clip. They are selectively cut to present specific soundbites and not the recordings or conversations in full. So what was left out?  And why?

Why these five clips, and not others? It must be a coincidence that the recordings leaked happened to be the ones about which Fenech’s defence team have been kicking up a fuss over in recent weeks. Theuma is heard saying that former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar “wants a lot of money”.

If you don’t believe a word of what Cutajar said in court, under oath, when denying this, there’s also Theuma himself and Inspector Keith Arnaud who have also said in court that this did not happen.

The day after Theuma was found at his home with a slit throat and wrists and several stab wounds in his abdomen, there was a two-hour session in court about Theuma recordings that had been “deleted”, implying they had not been presented in court. Except they weren’t deleted, because the defence team had them.

When these recordings were to be heard in court, journalists were kicked out. So it is not exactly clear what these recordings contain, but the leaked recordings on Sunday focus on points raised by the defence team.

And they say nothing about the man accused of being the mastermind of the murder.

The recordings were announced through a post from an account on social media using a false name. Oddly, the medium chosen was Reddit, an anonymous micro-blogging platform which while big in the US remains somewhat niche in Malta. Not only is Reddit hardly followed in Malta but new social media accounts tend to need ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ to get noticed.

There must have been a nudge, it seems, for these recordings to be noticed and hit the headlines.

The post hit all the right notes… too much so.

From Daphne’s last words to “animal farm” or “truth and justice” to the call of “the pen is mightier than the sword”. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was manufactured to seem as though it was coming from an individual associated with the movement.

Thing is, the movement that has sustained the call for justice and truth is closely-knit. The people involved know each other. Wouldn’t it seem strange if whoever posted that message, who said “I can no longer bear witness to the debauchery taking place before our very own eyes”, hadn’t been on the frontline of the cause for the last two and a half years?

Wouldn’t it be just the pits if Daphne was being weaponised to reach a goal that is the opposite of the truth and justice that the movement and her family have been demanding?

That is what would happen if the leak of these recordings was aimed at undermining the prosecution’s case.

This may seem far fetched, but this whole case has read like a bad movie script from the start. It has opened our eyes to a dark underbelly we knew was there but couldn’t possibly begin to understand.

In this context, it is important to question everything or, at the very least, ask yourself: Who benefits?

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