Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was today acquitted in three separate cases of defamatory libel filed against her by former MLP candidate Edgar Bonnici Cachia.
The articles entitled 'Man helping woman in priest case was jailed and deported from Egypt in 1985 alleged Libyan Murder Plot' and 'Can we please bear in mind that Bonnici Cachia himself has a seriously bad criminal record' appeared on the Ms Caruana Galizia's website on November 9 and 19, 2014 respectively. The third article entitled 'The Labour Party - a hitman for a candidate' had been published on her site on August 30, 2011.
All three articles related to Mr Bonnici Cachia's alleged involvement in the 1980s, together with another Maltese and two British nationals, in a conspiracy plot targeting former Libyan prime minister El Bakush who at the time lived in Egypt. The plot was foiled by the Egyptian secret services and Mr Bonnici Cachia was arrested and spent over six months behind bars in Egypt.
The court presided by magistrate Francesco Depasquale noted that the applicant had, on separate occasions, been convicted before the Maltese courts upon charges of fraud and failure to pay arrears owed to Telemalta Corporation and Vodafone Malta Ltd. Mr Bonnici Cachia had also been evicted from a garage in San Ġwann by a court order and was condemned to pay arrears in rent and services.
Reference was made to a file presented in court by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirming the involvement of Mr Bonnici Cachia in the Egyptian conspiracy affair.
Personal correspondence sent by the applicant during his arrest in Egypt further proved his direct involvement in the assassination plot, the court stated.
The court concluded that the allegedly defamatory statements made in the articles in question were corroborated by ample evidence to the contrary.
It that Ms Caruana Galizia had taken all necessary steps to ensure that her articles provided correct information and this was done by supporting her statements with evidence obtained through careful investigation.
"The information passed on to the ordinary reader was useful," the court declared. The articles targeted a person who was closely involved in a case concerning a priest, which was given wide coverage by the media and which was sufficiently serious to merit the filing of criminal proceedings.
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