Daphne Caruana Galizia claims abusive messages sent to her by JPO led her to file police report
Blogger and The Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia insisted that if executive chairman of the Malta Council of Science and Technology Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando had really wanted comments removed from an article on her blog, he would have said so in the barrage of abusive messages allegedly sent to her. The messages in question caused her to file a police report, she said.
This was said in relation to libel proceedings instituted against Mrs Caruana Galizia by Mr Pullicino Orlando over an article entitled ‘Marco Cremona wants to focus on his business and can’t tell us what he thinks about Labour’s policy anymore’.
Mr Pullicino Orlando objected to the final paragraph of the article where it was claimed that Marco Cremona and himself are friends. He also objected to two comments that were allowed to appear beneath the article.
On her part, Mrs Caruana Galizia maintained that Mr Cremona and Mr Pullicino Orlando’s friendship was a fact, told to her by the latter prior to the 2008 general election. She also said that it was fair comment to call Mr Cremona a “slimy jerk” because he was supposed to be an independent commentator however he went totally silent after the Labour Party won the election.
She went on to say that on the day Mr Pullicino Orlando planned to send her documents regarding the article, she received a number of “abusive” messages. She described them as the type of messages that would only come from a mad man, adding that she received a barrage of them repeatedly, just one minute apart.
When Magistrate Francesco Depasquale, presiding over the case, asked whether the messages were in connection with the article and comments, she said no. She said that they were just random abuse, containing insults and threats.
Mrs Caruana Galizia told the court how she then filed a police report at the Mosta station, because the messages caused her to fear Mr Pullicino Orlando. She added that the police officer in question, who she alleged is the very same that appears as prosecution in the cases relating to Charles Spiteri, called Mr Pullicino Orlando to the station and warned him to no longer contact Mrs Caruana Galizia.
She maintained that Mr Pullicino Orlando was showing happiness at the thought of filing a court case about the comments left underneath the article. She insisted that had he really had a problem with the comments displayed, he could have asked her to take them down, like others had done in the past. She said that she would have obliged, like in many other similar instances.
“Either he does not like the comments or he does, and he if does not he could have just asked me to remove them,” she said.