A “key piece of evidence” was prevented from being presented in court once Economy Minister Chris Cardona missed the deadline to restore libel proceedings against murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, her son Andrew said.
In a tweet, Caruana Galizia said Cardona had dropped the libel proceedings he had filed against his mother and now will have to pay the legal costs.
Caruana Galizia was sued for libel after reporting that Cardona and his personal aide Joseph Gerada visited a brothel in Velbert while on an official visit to Germany.
The journalist had cited an anonymous eyewitness who her son said “she knew personally” at the brothel who said he recognised Cardona. The minister retaliated by asking the court to serve Caruana Galizia with a garnishee order amounting to €46,000, freezing her accounts until the fateful day of 16 October when she was assassinated Caruana Galizia was on her way to the bank see whether she could access her accounts.
Another of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s son, Paul referred to the “criminal organisation” running the country after he picked up a tweet by lawyer and academic Justin Borg-Barthet who questioned why a senior member of Joseph Muscat’s government had no interest in proving that he had not “abused vulnerable women”.
Borg-Barthet also questioned why Cardona had no interest in proving he had not committed perjury, or abused procedures by acting to financially cripple the journalist who exposed the story.
Socialist MEP Ana Gomes picked up the tweet and asked whether Cardona had anything to hide.
While Cardona had dismissed the reports as “clearly speculative, based on hearsay which have no foundation of truth,” Daphne Caruana Galizia’s defence team had argued – and persuaded the court – during proceedings to preserve Cardona’s Transferred Account Procedure (TAP) files, showing the location of his phone on the day, allowing her source to be protected.
Magistrate Francesco Depasquale had ordered the preservation of mobile telephony data, but Andrew referred to “months of delaying tactics” by Cardona’s lawyer.
Earlier this year, the Daphne Project reported that Cardona was spotted at the same bar as one of the men charged with killing Daphne Caruana Galizia.