Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar told a court on Thursday she felt threatened by a Facebook post where the former chairman of the Malta Book Council warned her he would become her “worst nightmare” unless she resigned from politics.

Cutajar was testifying against Mark Camilleri who travelled to Malta specifically to attend the proceedings where he stands accused of harassing and taunting the MP.

Camilleri had failed to turn up at a previous sitting, prompting the court to issue a warrant of arrest to make sure he was present at Thursday's hearing.

Cutajar is also suing Camilleri separately for libel and those proceedings are still ongoing before a different Magistrates’ Court.

However, Thursday's case concerned criminal charges which were pressed against Camilleri after he posted various comments on Facebook claiming that the MP was “a liar and totally corrupt” and that he would only backtrack if she “resigned from politics completely.”

Those comments, posted on October 29, 2021, were presented in court by an inspector from the Cybercrime Unit, along with documents preserving Camilleri’s Facebook profile and blog wherein he referred to the MP.

Camilleri's claims about Rosianne Cutajar

The issue stemmed from claims made by Camilleri that Cutajar had been in a romantic relationship with businessman Yorgen Fenech, now awaiting trial for complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Camilleri further wrote that Fenech had been paying her money while she defended him from corruption claims.

“You come from a corrupt environment… set on conspiracy. I am a trader and I trade and destroy things for a living,” Camilleri wrote on his Facebook page.

On Thursday, Cutajar explained that she had felt the need to report the matter to the police because of “the seriousness of what was written in public.”

As a public figure, she accepted criticism but in this case, she simply could not just “do nothing.”

“Because if he [Camilleri] felt comfortable threatening public persons, then he would threaten ordinary individuals,” said Cutajar, adding that, if anything, her move was to “send out a message: no to violence.”

“You said that you felt threatened. Which part of the post exactly were you referring to?” asked Camilleri’s lawyer, Joseph Mizzi.

“The post was all a threat,” replied Cutajar, zooming in however on the concluding comment, “I will become your worst nightmare.”

Was Camilleri’s post a reply to her earlier post announcing on Facebook that she had filed libel proceedings against him? went on the lawyer.

“Don’t I have a right?… I did not mention Mark Camilleri in my post,” retorted the MP.

Pressed further for a simple “yes or no,” she again began, “so do you justify...”

But her sentence was interrupted by the magistrate who put the question herself.

“Yes,” replied Cutajar.

“Did your life feel threatened?” went on Mizzi.

“Not just that. I felt threatened.”

The next question as to whether she felt the post to be defamatory, was not allowed by the magistrate who pointed out that this was not a libel case.

The lawyer insisted that the question was relevant to the defence.

Asked again whether she felt libelled, Cutajar replied “I felt threatened.”

The prosecution and parte civile declared that they could rest their case once the investigating officer testifies.

However since today the inspector could not attend court because he was on work duties abroad, they requested a deferment.

That request was objected to by the defence who stressed that these were summary proceedings, meant to be concluded in one sitting.

Moreover, Camilleri had purposely travelled to Malta for today’s hearing.

After Mizzi approached his client to check when he would be travelling again to Malta, the court minuted that it would only grant one deferment for further evidence, making it clear to the parties that failing the next date, the court would declare evidence closed.

Camilleri’s lawyer asked whether the accused could follow via video conference, but the court firmly replied in the negative.

“Especially if he intends to testify,” added Magistrate Grech, setting the next date in January.

“These are criminal proceedings and he must be here when notified,” was the court’s final word.

Lawyer Edward Gatt appeared for Cutajar. Lawyer Mark Vassallo appeared parte civile.

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