Brothelgate: Lawyer lashes out at Caruana Galizia heirs in lawsuit filed over ‘malicious’ garnishees

Lawyer Pawlu Lia is insisting that a fresh case filed by the Caruana Galizias against his client was only intended to resurrect the brothel allegations, a case he insists the family wanted to stop

Peter Caruana Galizia (left) and Pawlu Lia clashed in court
Peter Caruana Galizia (left) and Pawlu Lia clashed in court

A lawyer for government consultant Joe Gerada lashed out at the heirs of Daphne Caruana Galizia for claiming in a case that a garnishee order filed against the murdered journalist was “malicious, frivolous and vexatious”.

Gerada was at the centre, along with Economy Minister Chris Cardona, of allegations made by Caruana Galizia on her blog that he had attended a German brothel while on official government business.

Gerada and Cardona had sued the late journalist for libel and also obtained a garnishee order that blocked Caruana Galizia’s bank accounts.

But after the journalist was murdered, the men had withdrawn their cases. The Caruana Galizias contend the withdrawal was an effort to bury incriminating mobile phone geolocation data that had been presented in court but not yet released.

READ MORE: Cardona and Gerada have given up their chance of disproving Brothelgate allegations

In a court application filed last December, Caruana Galizia’s widower Peter Caruana Galizia and her sons, Matthew, Andrew and Paul, sued Gerada for withdrawing his case and the relative garnishee orders without having presented any evidence in the libel cases. 

This, they said, meant that the libel cases had been filed “maliciously, frivolously and vexatiously.” A similar case was also filed against minister Chris Cardona.

When the case was called for its first sitting this morning before Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia, lawyer Pawlu Lia accused Caruana Galizia’s widower, Peter, of trying to “resurrect the case,” which his client had withdrawn.

At the time of her death, “we had a large outcry,” reminded the lawyer, “and the other side asked for the cancellation of the case.”

The article had led to a great deal of suffering on Gerada’s part, including the breakdown of his marriage, said the lawyer.

The ill-tempered sitting was brought to order several times by the magistrate.

Caruana Galizia accused Lia of being scared of Vodafone’s geolocation data.

“I am scared of no one,” replied the lawyer. “You asked me to cede it [the case] in the corridors of the court. There was your colleague Eve Borg Costanzi near you.”

Lia continued: “Let me tell you what they want. They want to resurrect the case and bring my client to testify so they can say a lot of things about him. I am not going to cooperate with the other side. When I tried to cooperate, I was betrayed in the courtroom. I am sorry for you and what happened to your wife, although she also picked on me.”

Peter Caruana Galizia replied: “She was right, like she was on many other subjects.”

The court put the case off to April when the Caruana Galizia heirs will exhibit evidence to show the libel cases were ceded.