Calling MP ‘prostitute’ not defamatory, lawyer argues in Rosianne Cutajar case

Occupy Justice activist and Facebook user sued by Labour MP tell court the term prostitute was not defamatory and did not attribute the status of prostitute to Rosianne Cutajar

Rosianne Cutajar (left)
Rosianne Cutajar (left)

Two persons being sued for libel by Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar, over denigratory Facebook posts in which she was likened to a prostitute, have denied the claim, saying that the term “prostitute” was not defamatory.

In replies filed in the court of Magistrates on Tuesday, Godfrey Leone Ganado and Rachel Antoinette Williams rebutted the assertion that the posts were defamatory, saying they amounted to “fair comment” when taken “in the context of the applicant’s behaviour with particular reference to previous publications about her and/or by her and /or with her consent”.

One of the lawsuits was filed after a post which read “However, HAMALLI, prostitutes and call girls, have a right to be represented in Parliament.”

Leone Ganado said he was “perplexed” as to how this could be considered as defamatory.

The emphasis lay upon the term ‘hamalli’ which could be construed as negative but certainly not defamatory, he insisted.

In the second reply, filed jointly by Leone Ganado and Williams, it was posited that Williams had no case to answer as the comments were simply posted on her Facebook wall by third parties. She had posted no comments, defamatory or otherwise, argued her lawyer, and had not signaled her agreement or otherwise to what was said in comments by others.

Moreover, the term prostitute, whilst bearing negative connotations was certainly not defamatory and “did not in any way attribute the status of prostitute to the applicant,” the defendants argued, pointing out that the comment had read “In Maltese we say PROSTITUTE” (Bil-Malti nghidu QAHBA) and not “In Maltese we call her PROSTITUTE (Bil-Malti nghidulha qahba).”

As for the request to have the posts deleted, the defendants said they were reserving their position in the light of the constitutionality the request, as well as due to the “impossibility thereof within the existing technological environment”.

Lawyer Andrew Borg Cardona signed the replies.

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