The Court of Magistrates in a judgment declared that describing a person as homosexual was not defamatory in today’s society.
Magistrate Michael Mallia ruled that a person’s sexual orientation in the current society was not of social interest bar that of assuring that no discrimination is made. The fact that homosexuality was a criminal offence until 1973, said the magistrate, does not reflect the situation in the 21st century.
The magistrate’s ruling came after three local papers described a homicide victim as a homosexual and his brother sued them for defaming the memory of his brother.
The court sympathised with the man, however, it deemed that the report was correctly based on the fact that the police held the victim’s sexual orientation as central to its investigation. The murder is still unsolved.
Magistrate Mallia also defended the press’s practice of never giving away its sources.
The victim’s brother said he will appeal the decision.