Saviour Balzan ordered to pay Richard Cachia Caruana €3,000 in libel damages
The managing editor of Malta Today Saviour Balzan was ordered by the court to pay Richard Cachia Caruana €3,000 in libel damages following an article that was published on 24 May, 2009, entitled ‘Why people will protest and not vote’.
Magistrate Francesco Depasquale, presiding over the case, rejected the arguments raised by Mr Balzan and declared that the statements made against Mr Cachia Caruana were “libellous” and “defamatory”.
In particular, Mr Balzan wrote that: “RCC acts as he has always acted, secretly calling on his army of sycophants to dish out bile and hate from their blogs and columns. They incite hatred and attempt to decimate any critics.”
In March 2016, Mr Balzan retracted the statement in an out-ofcourt settlement, adding that: “I am therefore retracting all I wrote and alleged in the same article as nothing negative can be said about Richard Cachia Caruana’s integrity and upright behaviour throughout his career,” but when his retraction was made public, he retracted the retraction.
Mr Cachia Caruana filed for libel proceedings in June 2009.
In his judgement, Magistrate Depasquale held that while Mr Balzan had accused Mr Cachia Caruana of using various journalists to deliver whichever message he wished to pass on, he failed to produce any journalist to corroborate this claim. The testimonies of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Mr Balzan were the only statements that made reference to these accusations.
He added that throughout the compilation of evidence, neither Dr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, head of the Malta Council of Science and Technology, nor architect Jesmond Mugliett were able to back up the accusations made by Mr Balzan. As the witnesses brought forward by Mr Balzan himself, they were also unable to say that Mr Cachia Caruana was behind the public attacks made against them.