The prime minister’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri said slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had caused him a lot of trouble in his personal life, saying he believed she had “crossed the limit”.
In his testimony as part of the Egrant inquiry, which was made public on Tuesday afternoon by the Opposition leader, Mr Schembri told the inquiring magistrate he was “living proof of Ms Caruana Galizia's lies”.
Ms Caruana Galizia had written in December 2016 that Mr Schembri has an inoperable tumour in the eye area.
Telling the magistrate his comments about the journalist could be both on or off the record, Mr Schembri described her reporting on his medical condition as having “crossed the limit”.
“I don’t know how to hate but I do not have respect for people like that,” Mr Schembri said.
He says that while he had promised himself he would not file for libel, a few days before giving his testimony he had initiated two cases against Ms Caruana Galizia.
My 13-year-old girl came up to me telling me children at school are telling her I’m going to die
“It can’t go on like this. There is a difference between subjective opinions about a person but then when you start going for the family, with my 13-year-old girl coming up to me telling me children at school are telling her I’m going to die, I won’t know what to tell her.
“I feel hurt that today I am here responding about the allegations,” Mr Schembri said. He went on to tell the magistrate never in his life had he "seen anything like it".
The entire Egrant inquiry report was made by public by Opposition leader Adrian Delia on Tuesday. He included a link to the report in a Facebook post.
The inquiry, conducted by then-magistrate Aaron Bugeja, had taken 15 months and found there was no evidence to substantiate claims by Ms Caruana Galizia that the secret Panama company Egrant was owned by outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's wife, Michelle.
Upon the inquiry’s closure in July 2018 the Attorney General had issued its conclusions but refused to publish the entire report, arguing that some details still had to be investigated, and the report also made reference to people who were unconnected with the case.
On Monday, the courts upheld Dr Delia's request for a copy.
Mr Schembri stepped down as chief of staff in November and was subsequently questioned by the police as part of their investigation into the journalist's murder.
Konrad Mizzi also says Daphne reporting was 'grossly unfair'
Making similar comments, former minister Konrad Mizzi also spoke about how he deemed Ms Caruana Galizia's writing to be "grossly unfair".
"Obviously I am a politician, I feel that I should be subjected to scrutiny but then when you get into personal life I feel it was grossly unfair and it
created a lot of stress. For me, my mother, Sai, the children and it was unfair..." Dr Mizzi told the magistrate.