Former Malta Football Association president Joe Mifsud's libel sitting was aborted after a mere half hour today when Magistrate Francesco Depasquale ordered Dr Mifsud and two lawyers out of the courtroom following disruptive behaviour and lack of decorum.
Dr Mifsud was being cross-examined by lawyer Chris Bonett during libel proceedings initiated by Dr Mifsud in 2008 against his successor, Norman Darmanin Demajo and the newspaper Illum.
Mr Darmanin Demajo had written to the MFA secretary asking it to investigate allegations of financial wrongdoing. Mr Darmanin Demajo had served as treasurer to the MFA prior to the year 2000.
The sitting was characterised by bickering between the two parties, with Dr Mifsud repeatedly insisting that his previous testimony be quoted back at him. He maintained that the law stated that questions asked during a cross-examination should be strictly contained to the witness' testimony.
The magistrate reminded Dr Mifsud that he was testifying and not defending the case, and instructed him to answer the questions being put to him.
At one point, Dr Bonnet quoted Dr Mifsud as having mentioned the word "emergency".
Lawyer Paul Lia, appearing for Dr Mifsud, said that his client had never used the word and accused Dr Bonett of using such terms to appease the media. The situation heated up and culminated in Dr Bonett banging his hand on the table before him in frustration.
At this, an incensed Magistrate Depasquale ordered the parties out of the courtroom.
"If anything, I should be the one banging," he said, referring to the disruptive sitting.
The case was deferred to February 15.
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