The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Court descends into chaos after Jason Azzopardi calls Owen Bonnici ‘co-participant’ in Daphne murder

Wednesday, 20 October 2021, 14:06 Last update: about 2 months ago

A sitting in a libel case filed by minister Owen Bonnici against opposition MP Jason Azzopardi descended once again into chaos this afternoon, after Azzopardi accused Bonnici of being a “co-participant in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

Bonnici had filed for libel after Azzopardi had described him as a “liar and a criminal” on Facebook.

The previous sitting before magistrate Rachel Montebello had also ended in a shouting match, after Azzopardi explained his reasoning behind calling Bonnici a liar.

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Today’s sitting was intended for Azzopardi to continue his testimony. This time he said he would be dealing with the word “criminal.”

“Before I came here, I did some research and I found that people like Stalin, Ceausescu and Pol Pot all had clean criminal records,” Azzopardi began. The court asked him not to make arguments but to simply testify at this stage.

“I say this because in 2016, Bonnici had defended Konrad Mizzi, praising him as one of the best ministers Malta ever had and that we should appreciate the fact that Mizzi had said he was sorry,” Azzopardi said.

Azzopardi exhibited a sheaf of documents containing news reports to support his argument. Bonnici’s lawyer, Pawlu Lia objected to the documents presented by Azzopardi, saying he objected to their contents and to their relevance. He protested that Azzopardi had not even come to the sitting prepared with a copy of the documents for the other party.

Azzopardi retorted that the things he had presented were in the public domain and had not been contested. He argued that the fact that Bonnici had defended Mizzi’s “criminal actions,” rendered him also a criminal.

He exhibited various articles, including an Illum interview with Bonnici in which the former Justice minister refers to murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia as a “hate blogger”when asked about the infamous Cardona garnishees.

“Are you saying that Dr. Bonnici is co-responsible for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia?” Lia asked the witness.

“Yes,” replied Azzopardi. “He has his hands stained with blood.”

“YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!” roared Lia, drowning out Azzopardi and the magistrate’s protestations. “This is why there is such hatred in this country! Vile! You should be ashamed,” Lia repeated, shouting over the lawyer.

“A homicide instigated in Castille,” Azzopardi shouted back. “I know, I am a victim of theirs too.”

The magistrate put the case off for December and left the courtroom, leaving the two lawyers to shout at each other.

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