The Malta Independent 17 November 2018, Saturday

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s libel suits can still continue - lawyer Joseph Zammit Maempel

Julian Bonnici Saturday, 21 October 2017, 08:20 Last update: about 2 years ago

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s civil libel suits can still continue to be heard, Lawyer Joe Zammit Maempel has told The Malta Independent.

At the time of her murder, Caruana Galizia faced 42 libel suits.

Some of those who were suing her for defamation include Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri, ministers, the Opposition Leader, and prominent businessmen, such as Hani Hasan Naji Salah from Sadeen Education and Silvio Debono from DB Group (who personally filed 19 suits last March).

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The journalist’s assassination last Monday raised concerns over whether the many politicians who have sued her for libel over the serious allegations she made towards them will face their day in court.

However, one of Caruana Galizia’s lawyers, Joseph Zammit Maempel, clarified that the civil suits may continue, but will require a court application from the plaintiff, and the heirs of the defendant to appear in their stead.

If the plaintiff decides to drop the libel suit, the defendant’s heirs should be able to refuse the request and insist that the proceedings carry on, however the lawyer indicated that this would present a unique circumstance and may be tested in a court of law.

In the case of criminal libel, the suits would be automatically dropped if one of the parties passes away.

Of the many individuals who have sought legal remedies to deal with Caruana Galizia’s criticism, only PN Leader Adrian Delia has so far dropped all libel cases. However, critics of Delia, which include some of the journalist’s most ardent supporters, have said that all this does is sweep the serious allegations tabled towards him under the rug.

People in general are also interested in hearing the outcome of certain suits, specifically her allegations with regard to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, Minister Konrad Mizzi, and Minister Chris Cardona.

Minister Chris Cardona, for example, fought tooth and nail and ultimately lost his battle in court to ensure that the geo-location data from his phone on his now infamous visit to Essen last January to be conserved.

 

 

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