Francis Zammit Dimech wins libel case against Alfred Sant

Comments made by the former Labour leader on the eve of the 2008 general election were ruled to have been libellous by the courts

Labour MEP and former party leader Alfred Sant was ordered to pay now PN MEP Francis Zammit Dimech €2,000
Labour MEP and former party leader Alfred Sant was ordered to pay now PN MEP Francis Zammit Dimech €2,000

Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech has been awarded €2,000 in libel damages from former Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Alfred Sant.

The case was filed following an interview with The Sunday Times of Malta titled “The only way is us” on the eve of the 2008 general election, in which Sant had claimed that Zammit Dimech’s electoral campaign had received kickbacks from Isle of MTV contracts.

When asked what evidence he had of this, the then Opposition leader had replied: "It’s not evidence. It’s something that people know."

Sant had argued that his comments were fair comment in the public interest and political criticism of the public administration. 

Magistrate Gabriella Vella, deciding the case, ruled that a comment could only be considered “fair and in the public interest” if it was substantially true. 

In the absence of evidence to back up the allegations, the comments were libellous, even if made in the context of an upcoming general election, ruled the court. 

The plaintiff was awarded €2,000 in damages. The defendant was also ordered to suffer the costs.

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