Saviour Balzan or­dered to pay Richard Cachia Caru­ana €3,000 in li­bel dam­ages

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.

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