Can Manuel Delia stop lying, just for once?

As for myself, however: I’m going to (try to) revert to my earlier resolution… and hopefully never write about this case again

This is all getting ridiculous, now. So ridiculous, in fact, that I scarcely even know where to begin…

But let me get one thing out of the way first. It wasn’t my intention to write about my ongoing feud with Manuel Delia, today.  (Or any other day of the week, for that matter… from now, to eternity).

And there are plenty of good reasons why I shouldn’t, really. Starting with the existence of other, more important things going on in the world, right now, than ‘just another minor media squabble’, to add to all the rest.

Besides: it’s now been four years since I filed my first-ever libel suit, against Manuel Delia, for a blog-post associating me with the ‘conspiracy to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia’ (even suggesting that I could realistically ‘be part of the mafia that killed her’, myself).

Naturally, I don’t expect any of you to remember the precise details, all this time later: and strictly speaking, I shouldn’t even NEED to bring them up again, at all. For though the Court of Magistrates had ruled against me, in the first instance: the Appeals Court eventually overturned that earlier ruling… which also means that:

    a) Manuel Delia was found guilty of libelling me, with that blogpost (though it took two years longer than it arguably should have);

    b) Having lost at Appeals stage, Manuel Delia had no remaining legal avenues, to pursue the case any further.

So as far as I was concerned, at the time: the matter ended (or should have ended) there. But of course… it didn’t.

At first, I thought Lovin’ Malta had made a mistake, when they reported (in August 2022) that ‘the legal battle between Manuel Delia and Raphael Vassallo continues’. Yet it turned out to be correct. Manuel Delia’s response to that guilty verdict, was to file a human rights case over a ‘breach of his fundamental human right to freedom of expression’… against ME, please note (and not just against ‘the State’: which is the only entity that CAN actually ‘breach human rights’, to begin with).

Now: I have to admit I wasn’t entirely surprised by this news; just like I wasn’t really surprised, when Manuel Delia had earlier chosen to reproduce that libellous blogpost in a book, no less  - aptly entitled ‘The TURD Siege of Malta’ (MidSea Publications)… while the first libel suit was still ongoing.

What DID surprise me a little however, was that:

    a) Manuel Delia would have the nerve to open that case against me, personally: even though there is NO WAY UNDER THE SUN, that I could conceivably be accused of ‘breaching his fundamental human rights’, simply by winning a legal battle against him, in court. (Unless, of course, the Universal Charter includes a specific ‘human right’, for the exclusive benefit of Manuel Delia – and ONLY Manuel Delia - to simply ‘lie about people, at will’…)

    b) In his own submissions to the Constitutional Court, Manuel Delia claimed that he was NOT actually ‘disagreeing’ with the Appeals Court verdict; he was not contesting any of the legal grounds, upon which that verdict was reached; and he even explicitly stated that he ‘ACCEPTED’ the guilty verdict, as it stood.

And yet, within the same submission, Delia also argued that the Appeals Court ruling (the one he had only just ‘accepted’, remember?) constituted a ‘basic violation of his fundamental right to freedom of speech’… and even that it ‘has a chilling effect on anyone writing an opinion in this country’[!]

Erm… see what I mean, about how ridiculous this is all getting? And why it’s so hard for me to maintain my (self-imposed) four-year hiatus, on ever writing about my own case in public?

Sorry, but there’s a limit to how long you can keep your trap shut, you know. For now we get to the latest twist, in this increasingly surreal saga. Yes, folks! As some if you will no doubt have guessed: Manuel Delia has once again lost his legal battle against me; once again, he is appealing against the Constitutional Court’s ruling (delivered on 6 October this year); and once more – in own words– ‘[he] must now convince a higher court that he wasn’t appealing from an appeal (and he’s not now appealing from an appeal from an appeal)…’

But no matter. Anyone with a even half a brain will immediately realise what’s really going on, here. Manuel Delia simply cannot digest the fact he has now been found guilty TWICE, at law, of libel… and I would say he has good reasons for finding that verdict so hard to swallow, too.

Like I hinted at earlier: by persisting with his libellous insinuations against me – even to the extent of ‘preserving them for posterity’, in bound-form - Manuel Delia has implicated all sorts of other people, in his own actions.

Legally, there is nothing – except, perhaps, my own forbearance – stopping me from likewise suing MidSea Publications, on the exact same grounds that I already won my case against Delia himself (i.e., the company willingly published libellous content, in my regard: exacerbated by the fact that it knew that legal proceedings were already underway)…

So far, I have chosen NOT to pursue this legal avenue: for reasons I that may one day write about, separately [Note; with hindsight, they’re actually quite amusing. Let’s just say that I know, for a fact, that Mr Joseph Mizzi, of MidSea Publications, had no clue whatsoever what his latest publication even contained – still less, how libellous it was – before actually publishing it.…).

Naturally, I have no intention of veering away from my earlier decision, to simply ‘let the matter go’. But I have to admit I stick to that resolve with gritted teeth. (It is, after all, somewhat difficult to maintain a policy of ‘non-aggression’… when you keep getting repeatedly ‘punched in the face.’)

Leaving all that aside, however: after the initial 2019 blogpost, Manuel Delia persisted in making further public allegations, in my regard… including - and I simply couldn’t resist raising this one in court: though I now realise it worked against me, in the end - the claim that I was ‘on the take’; and specifically, that I ‘did my work for government, and was paid for it directly by government, too’.

Effectively, this forced me to testify, under oath, that: I have never ‘taken’ so much as a single centime (not counting things like and ‘University stipends’, of course) from the public coffers; never once (except when I briefly lectured at University) have I been ‘on the government’s payroll’, in any shape, manner or form; nor have I ever sat on any government boards; chaired (or been a member of) any public commissions, authorities, government departments, and so on, and so forth, and so fifth…

… and it was here, roughly, that I ‘lost it’; and blurted out in open court: ‘UNLIKE SOME OTHER PEOPLE I CAN THINK OF, IN THIS ROOM!’

In any case, I could go on: but the fact remains that Manuel Delia still persists in lying about his (eternal, it seems) ‘legal battle’ against me, to this very day.

Just this morning, for instance, Delia announced his intention to… well, ‘appeal from the appeal from the appeal’. In so doing he argued that: “The Constitutional Court never examined whether I was right about [what I argued in the appeals case]. It said rather that it would not hear the case because what I was actually doing was filing an appeal from an appeal, which is not allowed…’

Erm… sorry, Manuel, but: ‘truth be told’, that’s not an accurate representation of what Judge Audrey Demicoli actually decided, with that verdict. And this leads me to suspect that either Delia himself hasn’t bothered actually reading it, for himself; or – somewhat more likely – that he is banking on the fact that none of YOU will have read it, either…

… and - in Manuel Delia’s own mind, at least - this simply ‘frees him up’, to distort the court ruling, in any way he deems fit.

In actual fact, however, the Constitutional Court ruling begins by declaring that: “After CAREFUL CONSIDERATION of the following facts’; then it continues by listing out all the ‘facts’ which it has ‘CAREFULLY CONSIDERED’.. and, sure enough, these include EVERY SINGLE ARGUMENT that Manuel Delia ever made in his testimony, and submissions, for the course of the entire trial.

And then, after having ‘CAREFULLY CONSIDERED’ all of the above (not to stress too fine a point on it, of course) – it concluded that:

“[…] IN THE OPINION OF THIS COURT [my emphasis], the Court of Appeal gave a decision that was motive-based [‘motivata’], which VERY CLEARLY [‘car u skjett’] explained the reasons why it was disagreeing with the Court of First Instance. For this reason, the [Constitutional] Court sees NO GROUNDS for the Court of Appeal’s sentenced to be considered as ARBITRARY, UNJUSTIFIED OR UNREASONABLE.”

Stripped of all legalisms, what that ultimately means is that the Constitutional Court (after ‘CAREFUL CONSIDERATION’, may I remind you all) AGREES with the final, definitive verdict of the Court of Appeal.

In other words: Manuel Delia has now been found guilty of libel, in my regard, by TWO courts, not one. But… does that stop him from persisting?

No, of course not! So what more can I say? Fine, Manuel, go ahead. Make it THREE courts, this time. (Heck, why not FOUR, while he’s at it? There’s still the European Court of Human Rights, you know…)

As for myself, however: I’m going to (try to) revert to my earlier resolution… and hopefully never write about this case again.