A University of Malta lecturer has defended an article posted on his blog that claimed US tourist Andrea Prudente was "inviting disaster" and "may have even welcomed it" when she travelled to Malta while pregnant.

The Prudente case made international headlines and put Malta's strict anti- abortion laws under the spotlight in 2022 after she was airlifted from Malta to Spain for a termination when her waters broke in early pregnancy. 

She and her partner Jay Weeldreyer have since filed a libel case against academic Simon Mercieca, for an article he published on his blog entitled: "How two Americans gamed their child and the Maltese: the Prudente story."

Mercieca took the witness stand this week, where he confirmed he had not written the article himself. 

Asked by Prudente’s lawyer whether he had attempted to verify the content of that article, Mercieca said it was supported by links that he had checked and confirmed were true. 

Asked whether he had spoken to Prudente and Weeldreyer before publishing that story, Mercieca replied: “no.” 

The article contained several allegations with no link, lawyer Andrew Sciberras pointed out. 

Asked to explain his claim that Prudente's trip was "well organised and they had some confederates who were on it,” the University lecturer said this was a reference also to the media who "pushed" Prudente’s story.

Questioned about claims that her partner "didn’t give the poor child a chance,” Merceica claimed that senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist George Buttigieg had said that "the baby could be saved". 

Merceica was also asked about certain claims in the article about the couple's relationship status and that Weeldreyer was “earning money through lawsuits" and that he liked to "shop around".

“They came from America. She [Prudente] was already spotting (light bleeding) before she left. She came to Malta…they created a whole uproar…Now they’re suing the Maltese state for damages. Isn’t that shopping around?” claimed Merceica. 

The couple, who have previously spoken about how much they wanted the baby, have since filed a constitutional case claiming their rights were breached by a lack of access to termination in Malta, despite the pregnancy being non-viable.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello asked Merceica if he published his article after the couple had filed this case.

Mercieca said there was "certainly a discussion" about it filed but that he would have to check the dates. 

He said: “Doctors wanted to save the child. They [Prudente and her partner] said ‘no.’ The media pushed the abortion case. So it’s logical to suspect….”

“Suspect what?” asked Prudente’s lawyer. 

“That they came here purposely,” Mercieca replied.

The case continues. 

Lawyers Lara Dimitrijevic and Andrew Sciberras are representing Prudente.Lawyer William Cuschieri is assisting Mercieca. 

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