The Malta Independent 20 August 2017, Sunday

Appeals court confirms €5,000 in defamation damages to former minister

Friday, 21 April 2017, 17:17 Last update: about 5 months ago

A press release issued by the GRTU about former Minister Michael Falzon and his testimony in court proceedings against Sandro Chetcuti was confirmed as being defamatory by the appeals court.

Michael Falzon had filed a libel suit against Vince Farrugia and Paul Abela as director general and  president respectively of the  GRTU  following the press release on 27 February, 2014.

The press release regarded testimony given by Mr Falzon in criminal proceedings against Sandro Chetcuti, about an incident between the latter and Vince Farrugia.

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Mr Falzon had alleged in court that he witnessed an incident between Mr Farrugia and Mr Chetcuti. The GRTU in response issued a statement, arguing that "the director general will take all necessary action in relation to the erroneous and misleading assertions made, possibly constituting perjury, especially regarding the meetings referred to by Perit Michael Falzon that could not have possibly been held as stated by Mr Falzon..... Other fallacious allegations and insinuations made by Mr Tabone, Mr Saliba and Perit Michael Falzon will be rebutted in court by virtue of witnesses and documented evidence as being false and fabricated for their ulterior motives." 

The Court found this statement to be defamatory, condemning both Mr Farrugia and Mr Abela to pay a total of €5,000 in damages.

The Court of Appeal noted that the respondents had not raised a fair comment plea, and did not put evidence forward to prove alleged falsity of Mr Falzon's court testimony.

The release was also issued while criminal proceedings against Mr Chetcuti were ongoing at the time.

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