Lawyers for Mark Camilleri have asked if he can give evidence from abroad via videolink to a magistrate hearing allegations that he libeled MP Rosianne Cutajar.

The author is currently living outside Malta and police have been ordered to take criminal action against him for publishing thousands of WhatsApp chats between Cutajar and businessman Yorgen Fenech in defiance of a court order.

In the latest sitting of the libel case instituted by Cutajar against Camilleri, his lawyer Joseph Mizzi said that he wanted to testify via video conference because he had more to say in the case.

The case came one day after Cutajar resigned from Labour parliamentary group over the chats. 

Rosianne Cutajar and Yorgen Fenech exchanged thousands of intimate text messages.Rosianne Cutajar and Yorgen Fenech exchanged thousands of intimate text messages.

Cutajar's lawyer, Edward Gatt, objected to the video conferencing request, arguing that by allowing it, the court would help Camilleri evade justice. 

The messages that Camilleri published online were subject to a court order that banned the publication of any part of a case file against Fenech, who is due to stand trial for his alleged role in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

'Secret' location?

Mizzi argued that Camilleri will return to Malta for another case in October and had already been living abroad before the contempt of court action.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello asked him where his client is living but the lawyer did not respond.

"Is this a secret?" she asked.

The court granted the lawyer one week to file a note explaining where Camilleri wishes to testify from and will then decree whether to uphold that request.

The lawyer also presented an affidavit to the court and a box file of documents including a report by the Standards Commissioner, two Council of Europe reports and media reports about Cutajar.

Cutajar's lawyers did not object to a request for her to testify but informed the court that the MP is six months pregnant.

The libel case stems from a Facebook post where Camilleri alleged that Cutajar had received money from Yorgen Fenech to stand up for him against corruption allegations.

It repeated a claim Camilleri had made in his book A Rentseeker's Paradise in which he stated that Fenech had been involved in an intimate relationship with Cutajar.

The case exploded last month when Camilleri published more than 2,200 messages online that revealed the intimate relationship between Fenech and Cutajar.

They also showed she had received cash from Fenech and a designer bag and solicited help from him for a political survey in her district.

The case has been deferred until May. Lawyer Mark Vassallo is also assisting Cutajar.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us