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Libel and garnishee threats fly in party vultures’ latest social media feud

Do you even bogan? Daphne Caruana Galizia opens the freezer of precautionary warrants on Glenn Bedingfield’s stomping ground

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
16 March 2017, 11:43am
Cartoon by Mark Scicluna
Cartoon by Mark Scicluna
The blogosphere of partisan madness has been lit up yet again with a mindless feud that includes renewed threats of expensive libels and garnishee orders.

The Prime Minister’s aide Glenn Bedingfield, portly quaffer of fine wines, regularly targets Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia, hater of all things Labour and working-class (she has extracted the Australian ‘bogan’ to berate ‘chavs’, but now earned the unlovely moniker of ‘Bidnija Bogan’ by Mr Badinga-field).

A month ago, the PN candidate and radio jock David Thake launched a successful crowdfunding campaign so that Caruana Galizia could repel a €46,000 garnishee order brought by economy minister Chris Cardona, who sued her for libel over unverified allegations that he had been seen inside a German brothel.

Now the PN rottweiller has threatened Labour’s bulldog with garnishees and libel suits over user comments and allegations being fired off on Bedingfield’s blog.

The Labour aide has been busy poking Caruana Galizia over a planning application filed by her lawyer husband Peter Caruana Galizia on a Birgu property, which turns out to be owned by a trust that the BCGL legal firm runs – not by the Caruana Galizias as he initially intimated.

Bedingfield’s fans have been unkind to Caruana Galizia, in comments that have now been deleted from the blog.

“Message to Glenn Bedingfield: this comment is libellous. Kindly remove it or you will be sued twice, with two precautionary warrants, by both me and my husband,” Caruana Galizia said on Bedingfield’s blog, where she enjoys parrying with the “savages” (her words).

Only weeks ago, Caruana Galizia’s quandary in the face of Cardona’s garnishee prompted a private member’s bill from the PN to remove precautionary warrants for journalists – and a massive PN rally.

Now she is taking the fight to Bedingfield on libellous comments pouring in on his blog. “If you you insist on uploading further comments of this libellous nature, I am going to sue you and ask for a precautionary warrant against your assets. And I will file one lawsuit and one precautionary warrant for every comment of this nature which you upload. So be warned. Meanwhile, I have taken a screenshot of these comments and will retain it for the purposes of a lawsuit and a precautionary warrant should I so decide.”

Of course, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and nobody is more eager than Caruana Galizia to deal a Labour apparatchik with their just deserts.

But there is of course some irony here: Caruana Galizia says the PM’s aide is harassing and mocking her for exposing his colleagues in the public interest, although Caruana Galizia’s targets have included countless private citizens, party candidates, journalists and family members of political actors, equally harassed and mocked on matters not entirely related to any public interest except for their association with Labour.

“She’s been denigrating people for eight years,” Bedingfield wrote on his blog, “the moment she gets picked on, she goes crazy. The Bidnija Bogan has threatened to file libels and freeze my assets, using that weapon she took such exception with when Chris Cardona used it, even prompting a PN protest to defend her right to lie about everyone.”

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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