Court stops David Casa’s lawyer from demanding source of cocaine allegations

In libel case filed by Labour MEP against David Casa, the court stops defence lawyer Jason Azzopardi from asking who was source of revelations of MEP’s cocaine use

Nationalist MEP David Casa never sued MaltaToday for defamation over cocaine revelations
Nationalist MEP David Casa never sued MaltaToday for defamation over cocaine revelations

MEP David Casa had not filed any libels about stories claiming he was a cocaine user, a court has been told today.

This emerged as MaltaToday managing editor Saviour Balzan took the witness stand in a defamation case which Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi had filed against Nationalist MEP David Casa, over allegations that she was keeping an office rental allowance to which she wasn’t entitled.

Mizzi was using offices owned by her daughter, who would not accept rent from her. This led to allegations that she was “pocketing” allowances intended for paying the rent of the offices, Casa had said in comments he gave to MaltaToday when probed over his accounts. The allegation led to a defamation suit by Marlene Mizzi.

Mizzi referred to the General Expense Account Good Practise Guide, saying she was following those rules on how a parliamentarian is to act. “Parliamentarians are not obliged to give satisfaction on their expenses,” she said, explaining that the money was given to MEPs without a requirement for explanation on how they are spent. “It is up to the MEP to administer them.”

“Casa said I was pocketing the money. That is theft, and I will never accept it [the accusation]. The fact that he is inflating salaries and taking drugs instead of trying to clear his name…” began the MEP before she was interrupted.

Mizzi exhibited a European Court judgment which established that the expense account is not to be made public for privacy reasons.

She was cross-examined by lawyer Jason Azzopardi who asked whether she knew whether Casa’s accounts were audited. “I don’t know,” she replied.

Asked whether her accounts were audited, Mizzi said they were and that “my accounts aren’t just audited by a Maltese auditors who simply relies on what the client tells them.”

She didn’t know who audits Casa’s accounts, she said. “That is his business. I am saying that my accounts are audited.”

MaltaToday managing editor Saviour Balzan was next to testify. Lawyer Edward Gatt, appearing for Mizzi, asked him about the article which alleged that Casa’s aide had said that salaries were inflated. “There were a number of allegations,” Balzan said, which related primarily to the use of cocaine and the inflation of allowances and salaries.

Asked whether he had spoken to Casa, he replied that he did and that there were public declarations after the cocaine story was published. “We asked him questions and he answered but most of his answers were about other subjects such as Pilatus Bank, and they were not clear,” Balzan said.

Balzan quoted emails in which Casa had said “I’m being asked these questions when… premises leased by offspring rent free, necessarily implying that these funds are pocketed.” Balzan said that “the only MEP who fitted that profile was Marlene Mizzi.”

Asked whether Casa had filed any libels about the cocaine allegations, Balzan said he had not.

Cross-examined by Jason Azzopardi, Balzan was asked whether the information had been given to him by a certain individual, but the court stopped the question to protect the security of sources.

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