The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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Rosianne Cutajar tells court she felt threatened by author's Facebook post

Thursday, 24 November 2022, 10:31 Last update: about 6 days ago

MP Rosianne Cutajar has told a court that she felt author Mark Camilleri was threatening her life in a Facebook post where he warned that he would become her “worst nightmare” unless she left politics.

The Labour MP testified this morning in an Qormi district sitting as criminal proceedings in which Camilleri, an outspoken critic of hers began. Camilleri stands charged with threatening or insulting her in a manner which exceeds the limits of provocation. The single charge, which is a contravention, deals with a Facebook post in which Camilleri accused her of cowardice, dishonesty and corruption.

In court this morning, Cutajar’s lawyer Edward Gatt read out excerpts of the post, which reads:

“Good morning. Rosianne Cutajar you are a foolish coward to hide behind your family and "humanity". You are also a liar and totally corrupt. You have asked me to pull down my Facebook post and even opened a libel case against me,” the post reads. “You expect me to comply because you come from a corrupt environment where money rules and the game is set on conspiracies. You are going to be very disappointed because I am a trader and I trade and destroy things for a living. So, let's make a deal. Let's make a trade.

I will remove my posts about you including my NFT of you if you resign from politics completely. You will never hear of me again if you leave politics.

Your alternative is this. Stay in politics, keep up your libel case and I will become your worst nightmare.

You are corrupt, Rosianne, and you belong in jail. You and your corrupt friends have not only ruined the Labour Party but have also ruined the country. I look forward to the day when the Labour Party will be cleansed from you and other corrupt idiots.”

To the Facebook post, which concludes with the statement “You all belong in jail,” Camilleri attached screenshots of what he said was a conversation between Yorgen Fenech and Diane Izzo about Cutajar, after the MP had defended Fenech in an address to parliament, which he said was evidence that Cutajar had been in an intimate relationship with Fenech, who is currently indicted and awaiting trial over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Called to the witness stand by her lawyer, Cutajar explained why she felt the need to file a police report in this case. “I accept a lot of criticism, much of it unjust, but in this case I could not fail to act because if this person feels comfortable enough to openly threaten me, he can also do the same to normal people…I am not going to tolerate this language, it caused me a lot of fear.”

Gatt asked the witness what had happened after she left the courtroom following the most recent sitting in her libel case against the author, but was stopped by the court, which pointed out that no such incident was mentioned in the charges, and did not appear to have taken place on the date specified in those charges.

Lawyer Joseph Mizzi, representing the defendant, asked the MP what she had found threatening about the post.

“The whole post is a threat, but most of all the part where he says ‘I will become your worst nightmare.’”

“Was that post a reply to your Facebook post where you announce your filing of a libel case against Camilleri?” asked the lawyer.

”Are you justifying someone making threats….” Cutajar began to argue, before she was stopped by the court.

The magistrate asked the witness whether the offending post was published after she had filed the libel case. It was.

Mizzi asked Cutajar whether she felt her life had been threatened by the Facebook post.

“Not only,” replied the MP.  “I felt threatened, otherwise I would not have filed a police report.

The lawyer asked whether she felt the post was defamatory, but this question was interrupted by Gatt, who argued that this was not a defamation case.

The court posed the question instead. Asked whether she felt defamed by the post, Cutajar replied “I felt threatened, your honour.”

Prosecuting Inspector Marcus Cachia was unable to attend today’s sitting as he was abroad on official duties, the court was told.

Mizzi formally objected to the joint request by the prosecution and parte civile that the inspector testify in the next sitting, pointing out that these are summary proceedings in which the prosecution were supposed to submit all their evidence in one sitting, adding that the accused had travelled to Malta specifically for this sitting.

The magistrate pointed out that Camilleri had previously indicated that he had previously declared his intention to travel to Malta and could not have known the exact date in advance. 

“Not just for this sitting, but he is not here regularly,” explained the defence.

After informing the defence that it would not be possible for Camilleri to attend the next sitting via videoconferencing, the case was adjourned to January next year. The magistrate ordered the prosecution parte civile to exhibit all their evidence at the next sitting after which the court would declare the prosecution’s evidence closed.

Inspector Carl Vince Sammut replaced Inspector Marcus Cachia for today’s sitting.

Joseph Mizzi appeared for the defendant Mark Camilleri.

Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo represented Rosianne Cutajar as parte civile

Magistrate Simone Grech presided the district sitting.

 

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