Ivan Camilleri claims wrongful dismissal from Times

Times sacked Camilleri over both Valyou supermarket incident as well as mention in Yorgen Fenech case, according to judicial protest

Ivan Camilleri
Ivan Camilleri

The former Times of Malta journalist Ivan Camilleri has filed a judicial protest claiming wrongful dismissal from the newspaper, and demanding he be paid fair compensation.

Camilleri was sacked on 19 December 2019 shortly after being associated with 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech during a court sitting over an alleged communication shortly before the businessman attempted to leave Malta on his yacht.

Camilleri has now confirmed he was sacked over this breach of his journalistic obligations, as well as revelations connected to an incident at Naxxar’s Valyou supermarket, a story broken by MaltaToday, in which Camilleri paid €5,000 after staff members flagged an alleged shoplifting incident.

Camilleri claims his dismissal was illegal and unjust in view of a collective agreement that was in place.

He said he wants fair compensation since allegations levelled against him had yet to be backed up by proof.

Camilleri has been sued for libel by MaltaToday managing editor Saviour Balzan, for comments made in the aftermath of a story that outed Camilleri’s incident inside Valyou supermarket; in the wake of the political crisis that engulfed Malta in December, Balzan offered Camilleri that he retract the libel case. The case is ongoing, and since then Camilleri has sued MaltaToday for libel for reporting his dismissal from The Times.

Camilleri was sacked in the presence of managing director Michel Rizzo, chairman Paul Mercieca, director Helga Ellul, and editor-in-chief Herman Grech. Camilleri’s hard disc and other company apparatus were then seized by the company.

Camilleri also claims that former managing director Adrian Hillman and the Times board had attempted to sack him or reduce his salary in 2015 – allegedly due to political pressure.

Camilleri now wants the newspaper to rescind all the accusations it had levelled against him; and to return to him all his electronic data, physical files containing sensitive information, so so that he can protect his sources and he continues exercising his profession.

Times of Malta had retracted a statement it had issued on 31 October on an incident reported in MaltaToday, involving allegations that Camilleri had previously shoplifted from Valyou supermarket in Naxxar, which had defended Camilleri.

Malta Today managing editor Saviour Balzan had filed for libel “to ensure that the truth be known and to prove that in every article he wrote as a journalist, he had been guided by the truth and not any intention to tarnish anyone’s reputation.”

Times of Malta had continued to investigate the allegations and discovered a contradictory version of events, which was confirmed by a number of individuals and later proceeded to terminate Camilleri's contract. “We have consistently said that we expect people in high office to act according to basic standards of honesty and accountability,” the paper wrote.

Camilleri was employed as a senior journalist with Allied Newspaper Limited and had been employed for 16 years since 2004.

During this period, he served as a correspondent with the Times of Malta from Brussels, and when the company decided to closed its Brussels office, he was brought back to Malta and occupied the role of a senior journalist.

The judicial protest was penned by the former journalist’s lawyer, Ian Spiteri Bailey,