PANAMAGATE: This is what I said to Konrad Mizzi in court

Published: March 3, 2016 at 12:03pm

A lot of people were curious as to what I said to Konrad Mizzi in court some weeks ago that would cause him to react by crying out to his lawyer, “She’s threatening me.”

Well, now I can say what it was.

You can imagine what it felt like, standing in the dock while his lawyers banged on and on about how I am not a journalist when I am writing for this website, and how my sources should be stripped of their protection under the law, when all along I knew what their wonderful client was up to and what he was hiding from them. Because I knew already at that stage, but I couldn’t say anything.

I thought it was particularly despicable, though, that he was allowing his lawyers to defend him so fervently when they clearly did not know what a crook he is, squirrelling away “assets” in Panama behind their backs while they did battle on behalf of his Socialist Innocence.

When it was over and I crossed the room to speak to my lawyer, I had to walk past the Minister for Health & Energy, who was seated behind him. I leaned over and said to him quietly: “Your lawyers think rather a lot of you. Have you told them where you’re hiding your money?”

The Minister for Health & Energy jerked and turned puce, and I immediately moved on to speak to my defence counsel. (I didn’t yet know what sort of terminology he favours, because I would have loved, in retrospect, to have said to him, “Have you told them where and what you’re populating with your assets?”)

Noticing Mizzi’s startled reaction, the Labour Party’s lawyer, Pawlu Lia – who had materialised out of nowhere only that day in a case that has been going on for 15 months with other lawyers – bounded over aggressively to break a lance for his client. “X’qaltlek? X’qaltlek?”

The Minister for Health & Energy, still seated, clutched at Lia’s arm as Lia leaned protectively over him, and cried out (literally cried out, and what’s more, in English): “She’s threatening me! She’s threatening me!”

Lia, filled with righteous fury and wearing the facial expression of an Inquisitor about to order the torture of a suspected witch and get satisfaction out of it, spun round to address the Bench, saying that I had threatened his client and moving for protection by the Bench. With surprising calm, given that I was bursting with fury at the comic injustice of it all, I said to the Bench: “I didn’t threaten him.” Then I half-turned to Lia, who was barracking in the background, and told him: “Why don’t you ask your client what I told him? Go on.”

At this point, the Minister for Health & Energy – still sitting down though the normal human reaction in this situation would have been to stand up – signalled to Lia to stop pursuing the matter. Then we were all told off by the Bench for behaving in a manner that is not appropriate to our station in our life.

I finished up with my lawyer and left. It was, however, completely clear to me that his lawyers did not know anything about what he was up to, and that he was lying even to them. And his instant, unthinking reaction to my question – accusing me of threatening him – was such a dead give-away that it came with a bright pink banner and large neon letters proclaiming GUILTY AS SIN.

she's threatening me