Man fined €50 over Facebook ‘threat’ to economy minister

Accused apologised in court saying he never intends to repeat his mistake

Economy minister Silvio Schembri (Photo: James Bianchi/mediatoday)
Economy minister Silvio Schembri (Photo: James Bianchi/mediatoday)

A man’s reply to a Facebook post, quoting the economy minister, landed him in trouble with the law after the minister reported it to the police. 

Simon Cutajar had posted a comment under a Facebook post by minister Silvio Schembri, which quoted the minister’s address to a press conference about the Nationalist Party’s electoral proposals for the business community in March 2022.  

The tagline was "mal-PN ma tafx x'se tieħu imma taf x'se joħodlok" (‘you don’t know what you’ll get with the PN, but you know what it will take from you’), to which Cutajar had quipped “miegħek tista ssib bomba taħt il-karozza” (‘with you, you might find a bomb under the car’). 

When Cutajar was arraigned this morning during a district sitting before magistrate Kevan Azzopardi, he had immediately admitted guilt. Cutajar’s defence lawyer, Ishmael Psaila, told the court that the defendant was sorry for his comment and had also apologised to the minister privately.

Cutajar apologised once again in court today, saying that he never had any intention of threatening anyone.

Lawyer Maurice Meli, representing the minister together with lawyer Stefano Filletti, told the court that although the man’s behaviour was not acceptable, that minister was not after his pound of flesh.

Minister Silvio Schembri, who was following proceedings via video conference, also addressed the court, saying that although the comment had been made in the context of an electoral campaign, there was a limit to what is tolerable.

Finding Cutajar guilty the magistrate, after taking into account the early guilty plea, the multiple apologies and the defendant’s evident remorse, fined him €50.