Joseph Muscat to testify in libel case next January after no-show

The former prime minister did not turn up for his libel case on Monday as he was abroad with his lawyer forgetting to inform the court

Joseph Muscat
Joseph Muscat

Former prime minister Joseph Muscat will be cross-examined in a libel case against Christian Grima next January after failing to show up for cross examination on Monday.

Explaining the situation, his lawyer Pawlu Lia said he forgot to submit a court application stating that Muscat would be abroad for the sitting.

Muscat hadn't been summoned by the court to show up for this sitting. Despite this, Magistrate Victor Axiaq said that Muscat must show up to the next sitting in January or the courts will take the necessary steps then.

Carl Grech, Christian Grima's lawyer pointed out that Monday's sitting was set for his cross examination. “The fact that the applicant did not obligate himself to attend today's court sitting does not take away from the fact that the applicant was supposed to be careful to not take on any more commitments without seeking permission from the court,” Grech said.

Muscat took Grima to court over a social media post he uploaded last year in which he accused the former PM of “blowing up” journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Caruana Galizia, a prominent critic of Muscat’s government, was murdered in October 2017, after a bomb placed inside her car was remotely triggered. The three triggermen have all pleaded guilty to her murder. The alleged mastermind, Yorgen Fenech, and the bomb suppliers are facing ongoing court proceedings.

In his Facebook post, Grima had shared a video uploaded by the Nationalist Party’s youth movement MZPN, featuring Muscat’s wife talking about Caruana Galizia’s murder, calling out her euphemistic phrasing when she made reference to “what happened to” Caruana Galizia.

“What happened to her? Your husband blew her up. That’s what happened to her,” Grima had written.