Justice for Daphne: the Avalanche of Legal Cases Before Caruana Galizia’s Murder

Maltese Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was subject to a staggering number of legal challenges before she was assassinated in 2017

As a prelude to Nicola Driscoll-Davies new series JUSTICE FOR DAPHNE, here is a list of the judgments in cases against Daphne Caruana Galizia courtesy of Corinne Vella, Daphne’s sister.

Background

Maltese public figures are not averse to using Malta’s criminal defamation law to silence their critics. The procedure has no direct or personal cost to the person filing a report but is time consuming and financially costly to the defendant. This enables people in power to persecute and harass their critics using the powers of the state.

When a new draft Media and Defamation Act was announced in early 2017, one of the provisions was to repeal criminal libel with the exception of pending criminal cases. In effect, this meant that criminal defamation law would be selectively applied to cases against Daphne Caruana Galizia and others even when it was repealed for everyone else.

When Daphne Caruana Galizia died, there were 47 libel suits pending against her – 42 in the civil courts, and five in the criminal courts. Most of the pending cases were filed since the current government came to power in March 2013. At least 77% of the pending cases were filed by Labour Party donors and officials, including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Minister Konrad Mizzi, Minister Chris Cardona, and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri. Of the other cases, 5 were filed by the current Opposition Leader Adrian Delia and 3 by ultra-right wing fascists. Overall, 95% of the cases were filed by men who are powerful, wealthy, or both.

The women who filed cases against Daphne Caruana Galizia are: Sai Mizzi, Minister Konrad Mizzi’s wife and the beneficiary of Rotorua Trust in New Zealand, exposed in the Panama Papers;  Lindsey Gambin, Minister Konrad Mizzi’s assistant; Julia Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms in the Office of the Prime Minister; and Phyllis Muscat, a friend of Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri, who was appointed head of the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) task force.

One Labour Party donor and government backer, Silvio Debono, filed 19 libel suits for a single story about an opaque government land deal.

Apart from time and energy, responding to libel cases involves punitive court fees and legal fees before a verdict is even reached. There is no evidence threshold to filing a case for libel.

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family continues to fight her outstanding cases except for a handful that were withdrawn by the plaintiffs after she was killed. 29 civil libel suits are still pending.


Judgments in Criminal Cases against Daphne Caruana Galizia


Judgment Date   

Reference Number
Court                          Parties
16/11/2016 1/2015 Of Magistrates
  (Criminal Judicature)
The Police vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne Anne
16/11/2016   2/2015 Of Magistrates
  (Criminal Judicature)
The Police vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne Anne
16/11/2016 4/2015 Of Criminal Appeal (Inferior) The Police vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne Anne
30/06/2016 333/2012 Of Magistrates
  (Criminal Judicature)
The Police vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne Anne
19/10/2015    6/2011 Of Magistrates
  (Criminal Judicature)

The Police vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne Anne
11/06/2012 588/2010 Of Magistrates
  (Criminal Judicature)
The Police vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne Anne
20/05/2011 427/2010 Of Criminal Appeal (Inferior) The Police vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne Anne
07/10/2010    1/2004 Of Magistrates
  (Criminal Judicature)
The Police vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne Anne

Judgments in civil cases against Daphne Caruana Galizia


Judgment Date   

Reference Number
Court                          Parties
19/05/2017   46/2011/1 Of Appeal
  (Civil Inferior)        
Farrugia Julia vs vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne
10/03/2017   200/2006/1   Of Appeal
  (Civil Inferior)
Degiorgio Martin vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne
20/02/2017 174/2015 Of Magistrates
(Civil)
Gaffarena Mark vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne
09/12/2015 200/2006 Of Magistrates
(Civil)
Degiorgio Martin vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne
19/10/2015   46/2011 Of Magistrates
  (Civil)
Farrugia Julia vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne
29/05/2015 2482/1999/1 Of Magistrates
  (Civil, Superior)
Cuschieri Emmanue vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne
29/09/2011 2482/1999/1 Civil Court, First Hall Cuschieri Emmanue vs
Caruana Galizia
Daphne
20/11/2009    364/2006/1 Of Appeal
  (Civil, Inferior)
Spiteri Carmel sive Charles vs
Caruana Galizia Daphne
25/05/2009 364/2006 Of Magistrates
(Civil)
Spiteri Carmel sive Charles vs
Caruana Galizia Daphne
18/05/2009 376/2006 Of Magistrates
(Civil)
Mintoff Perit Dom vs
Caruana Galizia Daphne
09/01.2008 279/2005/1 Of Appeal
(Civil, Inferior)
Sammut Nutar vs
Caruana Galizia Daphne
17/04/2007 279/2005 Of Magistrates
(Civil)
Sammut Nutar vs
Caruana Galizia Daphne
27/04/2001 1/1994/4 Of Appeal
(Civil, Superior)
Mifsud Joseph vs Caruana Galizia Daphne
03/12/1997 N/A Of Appeal
(Superior)
Mifsud Joseph vs Caruana Galizia Daphne

Pending Cases

66/2017 10/03/2017    Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
67/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
68/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
69/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
69/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vsCaruana Galizia Daphne Anne
70/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
71/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
72/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
73/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
74/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
75/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
76/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
77/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
78/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
79/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
80/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
81/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
82/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
83/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
84/2017 10/03/2017 Debono Silvio vs Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne
106/2017 17/04/2017
Mizzi Dr Konrad vs Caruana Galizia Daphne
107/2017 17/04/2017 Mizzi Dr Konrad vs Caruana Galizia Daphne
109/2017 20/04./2017 Mizzi Dr Konrad vs Caruana Galizia Daphne
110/2017 20/04/2017 Schembri Keith vs Caruana Galizia Daphne
111/2017 20/04/2017 Schembri Keith vs Caruana Galizia Daphne
119/2017 04/05/2017 Muscat Phyllis vsCaruana Galizia Daphne
133/2016 14/06/2016 Mizzi Dr Konrad vs Caruana Galizia Daphne
365/2014 07/11/2014 Mizzi Dr Konrad Et vsCaruana Galizia Daphne
366/2014 07/11/2014 Gambin Lindsey vs Caruana Galizia Daphne
1934/1999/1 02/09/1999 Vella Dr Mario Et Noe vsCaruana Galizia Daphne Et
126/2017 10/05/2017 Muscat Joseph Et vsCaruana Galizia Matthew

Terminated Cases

The following cases were terminated under a particular legal provision because the plaintiffs never appeared in court. The plaintiffs had a grace period in which they had the possibility to reinstate their cases, but chose not to. The plaintiffs are, respectively, the Minister for the Economy (Cardona) and his then policy aide (Gerada).

They sued Daphne because of her reports (which they strongly denied) that they were in a brothel in Velbert when they were invited to Germany to represent Malta’s EU presidency.

29/2017           06/02/2017      Cardona Dr Christian vs                     

                                               Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne

30/2017           06/02/2017      Cardona Dr Christian vs               

                                               Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne

31/2017           07/02/2017      Gerada Av Dr Joseph vs                 

                                               Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne          

32/2017           07/02/2017      Gerada Av Dr Joseph vs             

                                               Caruana Galizia Daphne Anne

There were also 5 cases filed by Adrian Delia, the leader of the opposition. He withdrew his cases after Daphne was killed.