Daphne’s li­bel legacy: most plain­tiffs still con­sid­er­ing whether to pro­ceed with cases

Car­dona does not drop gar­nishee or­der, JPO says he will drop case

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS - Rachel At­tard and David Lind­say

Out of the 12 peo­ple who cur­rently have li­bel cases pend­ing jour­nal­ist Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia, only two – Na­tion­al­ist Party leader Adrian Delia and now Jef­fery Pul­li­cino Or­lando – have said they will be drop­ping their claims against the slain jour­nal­ist.

The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day con­tacted all those with pend­ing li­bel claims, with the ex­cep­tion of the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Malta’s Hani Hasan Naji Salah, and all said they were still con­sid­er­ing their op­tions. Kon­rad Mizzi has not yet sup­plied an­swers.

Min­is­ter and Labour Party deputy leader Chris Car­dona did not an­swer a spe­cific ques­tion as to whether he would be re­quest­ing the re­moval of a gar­nishee or­der he had placed on her in con­nec­tion with his li­bel case over an al­leged visit to a brothel in Ger­many.

There are, it must be said, ar­gu­ments in favour of both drop­ping and press­ing on with the li­bel cases against Caru­ana Gal­izia’s heirs, rang­ing from re­spect for the dead and be­reaved, to ex­er­cis­ing one’s right at law to clear one’s name.

Pul­li­cino Or­lando, for ex­am­ple, was the only one to have con­firmed he would be drop­ping his claim, ex­plain­ing, “I be­lieve it would be in­sen­si­tive of me to do oth­er­wise, in the cir­cum­stances.”

Al­fred Mif­sud, on the other hand, re­marked: “The pur­pose of the li­bel was to clear my name from se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions lev­elled at me and that re­mains a very im­por­tant ob­jec­tive.”

Here is what the plain­tiffs said:

Prime Min­ster Joseph Mus­cat

A spokesper­son for Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat told this news­pa­per: “The Prime Min­is­ter has rarely used li­bel pro­ceed­ings as a tool to stop jour­nal­ists from voic­ing crit­i­cism (even very harsh crit­i­cism) in his re­gard. As a jour­nal­ist, he was once sued by Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia. He did sue Mrs Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia and her son for dif­fer­ent but re­lated defam­a­tory al­le­ga­tions which were com­plete fab­ri­ca­tions and an at­tempt to tar­nish the rep­u­ta­tion of the Prime Min­is­ter of the coun­try.

“The Prime Min­is­ter is tak­ing ad­vice on the li­bel case against Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia. Ob­vi­ously, the most im­por­tant el­e­ment is that the in­de­pen­dent mag­is­te­rial in­quiry on Egrant al­le­ga­tions will con­tinue and we are sure it will prove that there was not a shred of truth in the al­le­ga­tions lev­elled against him.

“On the other hand, while re­spect­ing the sen­si­tiv­ity of the mo­ment, the Prime Min­is­ter does not in­tend to drop li­bel pro­ceed­ings against Matthew Caru­ana Gal­izia, also be­cause the Prime Min­is­ter be­lieves both sides should be given the op­por­tu­nity to sub­mit their cases

“Ob­vi­ously, such de­ci­sions are up to the in­di­vid­u­als con­cerned to take.”

Min­is­ter Chris Car­dona

A spokesper­son for Min­is­ter Chris Car­dona said: “At this mo­ment in time, such per­sonal le­gal mat­ters are sec­ondary and will be given due at­ten­tion at a later stage. Min­is­ter Car­dona, as a mem­ber of the Ex­ec­u­tive, stands with the Prime Min­is­ter’s view that the paramount goal of the na­tion is to see that jus­tice is served.”

Al­fred Mif­sud

I am seek­ing le­gal guid­ance but the pur­pose of the li­bel was to clear my name from se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions lev­elled at me and that re­mains a very im­por­tant ob­jec­tive.

I take this op­por­tu­nity to con­demn with­out any reser­va­tion the vile at­tack and mur­der of Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia which was a frontal at­tack on the free­dom of the press. While hav­ing our dif­fer­ences, as Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia her­self pro­fessed dur­ing her ev­i­dence in Court, my at­ti­tude to­wards her was al­ways re­spect­ful.

Jef­fery Pul­li­cino Or­lando

I will be drop­ping the li­bel case I had in­sti­tuted against Ms Caru­ana Gal­izia. I be­lieve it would be in­sen­si­tive of me to do oth­er­wise, in the cir­cum­stances. Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia and I ex­changed not more than two mes­sages over the past month in re­la­tion to an In­for­ma­tion and Data Pro­tec­tion Ap­peals Tri­bunal de­ci­sion in my favour. I had lodged a com­plaint about Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia repet­i­tively re­veal­ing my where­abouts on her blog in real time in sit­u­a­tions which were not in the pub­lic in­ter­est. She was thus reg­u­larly ex­pos­ing my fam­ily, me and my prop­erty to crim­i­nal at­ten­tion.

I felt that this amounted to cy­ber-ha­rass­ment.

Adrian Delia

On Tues­day, Na­tion­al­ist Party leader Adrian Delia said he will be drop­ping the li­bel cases he had in­sti­tuted in the run-up to the PN lead­er­ship elec­tion Delia had filed four li­bel suits against Caru­ana Gal­izia in late Au­gust.

Sil­vio De­bono

Hote­lier Sil­vio De­bono, who had filed a record 19 li­bel cases si­mul­ta­ne­ously against Caru­ana Gal­izia, said: “This is a time for re­spect and mourn­ing, and not to think about li­bel suits. We ex­press our deep­est con­do­lences to the fam­ily.”

Lind­sey Gam­bin

The Prime Min­is­ter is tak­ing ad­vice on the li­bel case against Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia

What hap­pened has shaken the en­tire coun­try. To be quite hon­est with you, I didn’t even think of dis­cussing the is­sue with my lawyer. It was the last thing on my mind. Hav­ing said that, the lies told about me are still out there for ev­ery­one to see. They con­tinue to harm my fam­ily and me. The li­bel pro­ceed­ings opened were in­tended to clear my name and I still want to do that; how­ever, I will dis­cuss what my op­tions are, if there are any, with my lawyer.

Joe Ger­ada

Joe Ger­ada, who filed li­bel suits and gar­nishee or­ders against Caru­ana Gal­izia in con­nec­tion with the Chris Car­dona brothel al­le­ga­tions, said: “There are le­gal im­pli­ca­tions one would need to con­sider, ei­ther way. I will need to dis­cuss with my lawyers be­fore any de­ci­sions are taken in re­la­tion to the li­bel cases and so far I have not had the op­por­tu­nity to do so.

Phyl­lis Mus­cat

Former Head of the CHOGM 2015 Task­force Phyl­lis Mus­cat said: “Like the rest of the coun­try, I am in shock. This mat­ter is in the hands of lawyers who I’m sure will de­cide on how to pro­ceed in due course, so any ques­tions should be di­rected to them. My only thoughts at this time are with the griev­ing fam­ily.”

Keith Schem­bri

Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter chief of staff Keith Schem­bri has con­firmed with this news­pa­per that he too is seek­ing le­gal ad­vice on the way for­ward.

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