Former Labour Prime Minister Alfred Sant has been ordered to pay €1,000 in libel damages to former minister Ninu Zammit.

Mr Zammit felt libelled by a speech made by Dr Sant and broadcast on Super One Radio in August 2007 in which Dr Sant claimed that Mr Zammit had received compensation for the expropriation of land while many other people were still awaiting compensation for their expropriated land.

The court heard that Mr Zammit's land was expropriated in February 2006 at the request of the Malta Transport Authority. The land was valued at Lm44,080 and, in terms of the law as amended in 2003, the Lands Department had deposited this sum in court when the official notice of expropriation was published in the Government Gazette in January 2007.

This, said the court, was the same procedure that had been applied in the case of Mr Zammit's neighbours whose land had also been expropriated at the same time. It was also the standard procedure adopted by the Lands Department.

The court dismissed Dr Sant's plea that the speech constituted fair comment and ordered Dr Sant to pay Mr Zammit €1,000 in damages.

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