The Malta Independent 21 October 2021, Thursday

Guilty verdict in libel case instituted by referee partially revoked

Wednesday, 14 December 2016, 12:15 Last update: about 6 years ago

An appeals court has ruled that the managing editor of Smash television, Jesmar Baldacchino, was not responsible for damages over disparaging remarks made by a sports commentator against a referee during a football broadcast in March 2010.

Mr Baldacchino and sports commentator Josef Galdes had been fined a total of €3,000 after the Magistrates' court ruled that the comments made about referee Chris Lautier's decisions during the match between Sliema and Qormi, had been offensive and defamatory.

The referee had been described as the figolla of the year, "deserving the national order of merit" for creating the "comedy of the week."

Mr Baldacchino testified that at the time of the incident, he was head of news at Smash TV whereas his father was director. The Court of Appeal observed that being head of news did not signify that one was also editor.

The court revoked the judgment of the first court, acquitting Mr Baldacchino of joint responsibility and exonerating him of all liability.

 

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