The Malta Independent 21 October 2019, Monday

Keith Schembri wins libel case against PN newspaper, In-Nazzjon ordered to pay €5,000; PN reacts

Monday, 11 July 2016, 12:58 Last update: about 4 years ago

The Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri has won a libel case against in-Nazzjon, the PN newspaper, over an article which alleged that Mr Schembri knew the whereabouts of a man who ran away from Malta due to debt problems.

In-Nazzjon was ordered to pay Mr Schembri a total of €5,000.

The article centred around a man named Ryan Schembri, Keith Schembri’s cousin. In the story, it was said that Keith Schembri had been contacted by Ryan Schembri while he was abroad, and that the former knew of the latter’s plans and whereabouts.

This was denied by the PM’s chief of staff, stating that he did not have any business ties with his cousin.

In a press release issued by the government, it was said that such a ruling by the courts confirms that the Opposition have no interest in journalism, but rather to damage the present day government.

Magistrate Francesco Depasquale said that “this court cannot ignore the fact that this kind of journalism is detrimental to the general field seeing that the report is not based on fact but rather on the intent to cause damage to Keith Schembri, who is considered to be a political adversary.”

The Magistrate also said that he does not believe the Opposition’s version of facts because the article is filled with insinuations.

The Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri said that he is satisfied with the way facts have started to come out on the lies that have been said against him.

“This is a condemnation of the style of politics used in the past, pushing partisan politics with the blessing of the Opposition Leader,” Mr Schembri said. 

In a statement, the Nationalist Party said that if Keith Schembri had any decency, he would have left his position ages ago.

In no other country a Prime Minister's chief of staff remains in place in spite of being caught secretly opening a company in Panama. And in no other country would a chief of staff issue a statement to insult the Opposition, the PN said.

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