The Malta Independent 24 June 2019, Monday

Court of appeal rules in favour of inspector in libel case against it-Torca

Friday, 30 June 2017, 17:42 Last update: about 3 years ago

Inspector Elton Taliana has won his libel case in a court of appeal against it-Torca editor Alexander Farrugia, who had claimed that the inspector had knowingly left an innocent man in prison.

The article, titled ‘Young man unjustly ended up in prison…inspector knew of the error’, was published in August 2013 and concerned a hold-up which took place in  Birkirkara.

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Darryl Luke Borg had been arrested for the offence and was denied bail after pleading not guilty to the charges.

The inspector then received information which claimed that Roderick Grech, known as ‘ic-China’ had committed the robbery.

Grech has since been murdered in an incident involving Etienne Bartolo, known as ‘il-Vojt’, who is facing criminal charges.

Grech eventually confessed to the inspector during an interrogation and was sentenced later on that day.

Taliana then told his superiors to release Borg from prison.

It-Torca would later claim that Taliana had waited two days before informing his superiors to release Borg from prison, even though he had known he was innocent.

In the initial hearing, a magistrate ruled in the favour of the newspaper after noting "a serious failure in the conduct of the police investigations".

Mr Justice Anthony Ellul, who presided over the court of appeal, ruled that the evidence proved the contrary as Taliana had not issued charges against Grech when the arrest warrant was issued.

The court declared that the newspaper’s allegation was a “sweeping statement.”

For these reasons the court revoked the judgment of the first court and condemned the editor of it-Torca to pay €500 in damages over the defamatory article, together with the costs of both suits.

 

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