The government’s bill to repeal criminal defamation law includes anti-Constitutional heresy

Published: February 15, 2017 at 1:03am

The government’s bill to repeal the criminal defamation law includes a very grave anti-Constitutional heresy which the drafter of the bill, Stefan Frendo, included at the specific request of the Justice Minister, in full knowledge of the fact that it falls foul of the law.

This is that when the criminal defamation law is repealed, all cases of criminal defamation which are still pending before the courts will continue to be heard regardless. Being prosecuted for something that is no longer a crime is not just a legal absurdity but a violation of human rights.

I haven’t yet read the text that the Justice Minister put before the media a few hours ago, but this provision was in the text a few weeks ago and there is no reason to believe that it has been removed, given that the Justice Minister is so keen on having it in.

I don’t think the Opposition even knows about it, but if they do, then I hope they’re preparing to blast that anti-Constitutional provision in the bill to kingdom come – because if they don’t, I’m already preparing the ground to do it myself in the Constitutional Court. But not before I’ve ripped it to shreds in print and on the internet and made sure that all the press freedom/protection of journalists organisations in Europe know about what the abusive Maltese government is planning on doing to persecute journalists some more.

“Oh, and by the way, did I mention that we’re planning to continue prosecuting journalists for criminal defamation even after the law is repealed? Baku would love that.”

23 Comments Comment

  1. callixtus says:

    They’re so obviously targeting you for harassment. Harassing you has become this government’s overriding priority. Far from reining his ministers in, the Prime Minister seems to be unleashing them to attack you while hiding his hand.

    • That’s OK. I’ll see him out like I saw out the other three prime ministers before him. I have seen my worst enemies buried or voted out of power, and unless I pop my clogs within the next six years (and with luck, one), this is going to be no different.

  2. Catsrbest says:

    Yes indeed, go ahead, expose their rotten corruptness, criminality and evil to the whole world.

  3. I know that, and it’s just my point. But it’s not what Stefan Frendo wrote into the draft law, so I suggest you begin ringing him and the Justice Minister 50 times a day before they find themselves with a major Constitutional battle on their hands.

    There are just 10 criminal defamation cases pending before the courts, and they are going to write an anti-Constitutional clause into the law to have them proceed even after the law under which they were filed no longer exists.

    Three of those 10 cases are against me and another two are against Austin Gatt. I haven’t yet discovered who the accused are in the other five cases.

  4. That is my view too. In fact I had a court hearing this morning for a police case (instituted by a nutter called Charlie Spiteri) and asked my lawyer to prepare a formal request for the cases to be stopped on the grounds that both government and Opposition have now moved for the repeal of the law. To make matters even more farcical, in one of the cases I am being prosecuted at the request of a cabinet minister who will now be voting for the repeal of the very same law under which he is having me prosecuted.

  5. Le pauvre homme says:

    Now is the time to use your position and your influence, Dr Debono.

  6. Le pauvre homme says:

    He got it from Mintoff – who infamously once said (as prime minister, mind you) – “nigi nitnejj** mill-Kostituzzjoni”

  7. pete ross says:

    Mintoff had declared “Nigi nittnejjek mil-kostituzzjoni” (I don’t give a fuck about the Constitution) and had even suspended the constitutional court for years. The current Labour cabal cannot suspend the constitution but for sure they’re doing their fucking best to go against its spirit if not its clauses too.

  8. La Redoute says:

    I think it’s disgraceful that the one time Franco Debono did anything right – propose the withdrawal of criminal libel cases – it’s being sabotaged by the current government. Owen Bonnici is a disgrace on many counts. I hope Debono takes this up with him insistently. It may salvage his reputation.

    • Franco Debono says:

      ”In fact, in the hypothesis under discussion, though the liability was contracted while the former law was still in force, the prosecution and sentence would be carried on and pronounced after such law has been repealed. So that, if such law were to be applied to such prosecution and sentence, it would be given an effect beyond its legal limit of operation” – Lectures in Criminal Law – Professor Sir Anthony J Mamo – p.32

  9. I am not a politician and am not required to appear before the public to explain myself. Journalists write/broadcast. Politicians and ‘experts’ debate.

    It’s too late for you to understand the finer points of democracy.

  10. Rifless says:

    You are a classical example of the finer distinction that the Latins used to make where we today use just one word: ignorance. For the Romans, if one never came across the truth and he says otherwise this was referred to ‘non-scientia’ – not having the knowledge. On the other hand, if one is aware of the truth but decides not to acknowledge, then it is ignorance as he is ignoring the truth.

  11. I have never been known to run away from anything in my life, Privitera. That’s why I am able to do this job and withstand you all.

  12. Swordfish says:

    The law may be repealed but a set of clauses from the previous law may still be ‘saved’.

  13. The last thing I am is fake, Privitera – and it appears that is the root cause of the problem.

  14. Kevin F. Dingli says:

    The proposed saving clause concerning pending criminal libel cases, whilst perhaps surprisingly to some not unconstitutional, violates established doctrine on the temporal effects of criminal law. As such, and always if so enacted, it ought to be completely disregarded by the Courts.

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