Criminal action against former MEP Marlene Mizzi over an insulting letter addressed to the judge who had decided an appeal from a libel case decision she filed against MEP David Casa has been dismissed because it was time-barred.

The decision was taken by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech after confusion over the date when the summons was actually issued, with the court observing that in the notice of summons, figures had been overwritten and scribbled in such manner that it was not possible to make out the date of actual service upon Mizzi. 

The letter was allegedly written last January and addressed to Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff after he delivered the appeal judgement.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech said that from a reading of the letter, there was nothing to show that it had not come from Mizzi. The text made reference to the role of MEPs, linked specifically to a particular court case instituted by Mizzi against  Casa.

It was evident who had an interest in that case and particularly in the outcome thereof, observed the magistrate, adding that it was up to Mizzi’s defence to rebut such circumstantial evidence in line with procedural laws.

However, based on the contents of that letter, the court had no cause to doubt who the signatory and sender of that letter was.

Mizzi’s lawyer had earlier argued that it was for the prosecution to prove that the letter had indeed been written by Mizzi.

But that argument was only raised in the final stage of the case and no proof was offered to show that Mizzi had nothing to do with the writing.

Mizzi’s lawyer also raised the plea of prescription, pointing out that the charges had been issued in May, four months after the date on the letter and thus after the three-month prescription for contraventions.

The prosecution countered that prescription ran from the time the letter reached Mr Justice Mintoff, namely in February.

When examining the notice of summons, the court observed that the figures had been overwritten and scribbled in such manner that it was not possible to make out clearly the date of actual service upon Mizzi.

Nor was the court official responsible for serving said notice called to testify so as to dispel any doubts about the double dates on the court notice.

Such “amateurish” handling meant that the court could not determine the correct date when charges were served upon Mizzi and whether that was within legal time limits.

The court thus had no option but to uphold the defence’s plea declaring the action time-barred.

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