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GRTU makes exhaustive defence for evidence against Sandro Chetcuti

After suing Mediatoday editor for libel, GRTU dubs Chetcuti “self-confessed and registered heavy tax evader”.

Matthew Vella
22 December 2011, 12:00am
Vince Farrugia is suing Mediatoday managing editor Saviour Balzan for libel for publishing evidence presented in court by Sandro Chetcuti's defence lawyers.
The GRTU has mounted a defence of the evidence submitted in the prosecution of Sandro Chetcuti, accused of the attempted murder of GRTU director Vince Farrugia, in a bid to bolster a libel suit against Mediatoday managing editor Saviour Balzan.

Balzan has been sued for libel by Farrugia after publishing SMSes presented in court by the defence counsel of Sandro Chetcuti, that call into question the evidence submitted by consultant radiologist Anthony Samuel of the injuries suffered by Farrugia.

In what reads as a missive against Mediatoday and a hagiography for Vince Farrugia - at least half of the GRTU's pamphlet praises "the tremendous work, enthusiasm and energy Vince Farrugia places in all that he does for micro, small and medium Maltese enterprises" - the GRTU is pushing its own defence of the evidence so far submitted against Chetcuti by the Attorney General.

In an unsigned article, the GRTU accuses Balzan of exaggerating "the conspiracy theory" of "well-paid" defence lawyer Emanuel Mallia.

So far, two medical experts appointed by the court have put into doubt the evidence of Samuel as to the type of injuries Farrugia suffered when he was assaulted by Chetcuti at the GRTU offices back in March 2009.

"What Dr Anthony Samuel, Malta's foremost expert on imagery, produced in Court is objective, electronically registered bone scan evidence which is irrefutable as to the damage caused on Vince Farrugia by the savage attack of Sandro Chetcuti."

Chetcuti's lawyers have produced evidence in court to show that Samuel had contacts with Vince Farrugia's children before carrying out the scan, which is is being disputed by other radiologists.

Under cross-examination, Samuel told the court that he never specified that the broken ribs he had detected when examining Farrugia were caused by the assault itself. Samuel also admitted he had briefly dated Farrugia's daughter.

Between 15 and 23 March 2009, Samuel was also shown to have had five mobile phone and SMS exchanges with both of Farrugia's children. In one SMS, Marie-Claire Farrugia sent to her father, she says: "I have asked Anthony Samuel to do a scan on our ribs" adding that it would help his court case.

Here's the GRTU's take on the evidence, as written in its official pamphlet:

"When Vince Farrugia's medical consultant, who is also his daughter, stated that a scan is good for the court case, she said so because a scan is irrefutable, scientific and not opinionated evidence, something on which the court can rely. She was stating the obvious - a scan shows whether any damage was inflicted, good for the prosecution, or not inflicted, good for the defence. Any consultant would have recommended the same whether the patient was her/his father or not."

The GRTU is also insisting that Vince Farrugia never reported or exhibited any pains in the ribs or suffered any accident that could have cause breakages to the ribs prior to the 11 March assault.

"Any consultant would also have contacted the Head of the Imagery Department at Mater Dei to see if an early appointment was possible. Anyone of the hospital staff would have sought to send a message, one way or another, if an appointed slot was possible. Whether the message went direct to the patient or indirectly through his son is really irrelevant."

According to the evidence against Chetcuti, the former GRTU official is said to have told Farrugia he would kill him as he punched him to the ground, and that he would back with his brother to finish him off.

The GRTU is also claiming Mediatoday is defending Chetcuti, whom it describes as "an aggressor with a history of violence on persons... who publicises himself as a land speculator and who is a self-confessed and registered heavy tax evader and who in the not so distant past was shown by MaltaToday itself as a person very scarce on business ethics as a property dealer."

Matthew Vella is editor of MaltaToday.com.mt.

After graduating in a...
Christian Thorn
The GRTU has mounted a defence of the evidence submitted .... Il-GRTU mhux Vince Farrugia? Min qieghed jaghmel din id-dikjarazzjoni u jistahba tal-l'isem tal-GRTU? Is-solta stqarrija issir f'isem is-Sur So&SO ghal GRTU.... Min irrid jigbor gieh min?
m borg
".......is a self-confessed and registered heavy tax evader and who in the not so distant past was shown by MaltaToday itself as a person very scarce on business ethics as a property dealer." Would anyone in his right mind please explain what the tax evasion has to do with attempted murder. If Vince Farrugia knew that Sandro was a self confessed Tax evader and never reported him he would be an accessory to the crime and as guilty as Sandro. Like it is said desperate times call for desperate measures.
Frank Testa
Talk about fishwives having an argument. But really GRTU and Mr. Farrugia amd in particular, must realise that they have been caught with their pants down. There is typical of those who are defending a lost cause. They come out fighting. The facts are that Dr.Samuel undoubtedly a very capable professional was contradicted twice one of them by Dr.Mario Vella our forensic expert. His expertise is not imagery but how wounds occur after a violent accident and or incident. I am no legal expert but the tirade against Mr. Chetcuti regarding his alleged irregularities, and of being a builng speculator, do not have any bearing on the case. It is just an exercise in character assissation. This ruse and the sueing for liberl of Mr.Balzan is only smoke screen to divert the attention from the whole issue. Let call a spade a spade Mr.Farrugia exagerated a bit. He has that tendency, remember his prediction of the PN placing 5 seats at the Euro Parliament. The smses are a case of double standards. Publishing emails exchanged by Joseph Muscat and the editor of the religious paper is OK. But in the communication between Farrugia's daughter that was illegal because it was evidence in the case. I conclude by first hunbly asking the daughter of Mr.Farrugia, would she have contacted Dr. Samuel if the ex-rays showed real serious injuries? Second I also would like to ask the GRTU. Would your honorable union have cited Mr.Balzan for libel if what he published helped Mr.Farrugia's cause? PS About income tax and speculation. Our Lord once said he who no sin throws the first stone. Merry Humbug to everybody.
Clint Axiaq
Vera qeghdin sew dawn tal-GRTU! ghax ghandhom juzaw il-gazzetta tal-union biex jiddiskutu affarjiet personali ta' Vince Farrugia? Mela il-GRTU xi propjeta ta' Vince jew? Hawn daqshekk problemi fil-business prezentament - u allajbierek minflok fuq l-ekonomija il-GRTU fil gazzetta taghha tikteb fuq il-problemi legali ta'Vince! U le! Jekk hu daqshekk konvint li ghandu ragun Vince m'ghandux ghalfejn jinkwieta. Imur jispjega lil-magistrat li dawk l-SMSes ma kienu jfissru xejn hazin, u li hi xi haga normali li il-boyfriend ta' bintu sab griehi li tobba ohra ma rawhomx!
Joseph Camilleri
Tal-mistija kif is-Sur Farrugia qed jinqeda bil-GRTU biex jivendika lil Sandro Chetcuti u lil Media Today. Sandro irnexilu ghamel Association Gdida bis-sapport kollu ta ex-Ministru l-Perit Michael Falzon li marghuf tajjeb ghal integreta tieghu, wara li spicca mil-GRTU.Sandro ibqa sod u kompli bis-success tieghek.
Janet Pullicino
Vince Farrugia is clearly feeling that public opinion has turned against him now that those SMSes have been published. How does it even remotely make sense to sue Maltatoday for libel because it published messages written by Farrugia himself? If the messages are defamatory and give Farrugia a negative image, the man has nobody to blame but himself because he is the one who wrote them! what a joke Vince Farrugia has become! the only misfortune in this sad saga is the fact that the GRTU has been dragged into the mud with him.