A libel case instituted 18 years ago was yesterday put off for judgment for the 33rd time. The suit was filed in 1997 by former Nationalist Cabinet minister Louis Galea against Etienne St John, then head of news at Labour’s One TV. The case has been heard by Mr Justice Joseph Micallef throughout and judgment has been pending for 11 years.

The case was first put off for judgment in May 2004. However, 33 sittings later, a sentence has still not been handed down. “We were once again summoned to attend court yesterday to hear the final judgment. We could not believe our ears when we heard the judge defer the case once again,” a relative of one of the parties to the case told Times of Malta.

This case was mentioned in Parliament last year as an example of delayed justice. Giving information in the House on 185 libel cases pending before the law courts, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici highlighted the 1997 case as a classic example of court delays. He said the case showed how urgent judicial reform was.  

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