Norman Lowell charged with inciting racial hatred
Norman Lowell, the leader of the far-right group Imperium Europa, was arraigned in court under arrest yesterday afternoon and accused of inciting racial hatred.
The arraignment comes days after another case instituted by the police against Mr Lowell for allegedly inciting racial hatred, for which he could have faced an 18-month jail term, was shelved. The court had put off the case sine die because "the prosecution failed to turn up in the case".
Magistrate Jacqueline Padovani yesterday heard Mr Lowell, 59, of Attard, plead not guilty to using abusive and insulting words or gestures to incite racial hatred in Rabat on April 30 and in Qawra on May 8.
Superintendent Peter Paul Zammit also accused Mr Lowell of inciting racial hatred "between December 2003 and March 27, 2006" through an article entitled "Coming Cataclysmic Crisis".
Mr Lowell, who claimed to be an "artist and author" when asked to name his profession, was also accused of insulting and denigrating the President of Malta in Qawra on May 8.
He appeared under arrest and was granted bail against a personal guarantee of Lm5,000.
As he walked out of the law courts flanked by his lawyer, Dr Emy Bezzina, Mr Lowell said his arraignment was "a political trial against those who are saying the truth" and a "threat" to his Constitutional right of freedom of expression.
Holding a copy of a book entitled Which Way, Western Man? Mr Lowell said his was not racial hatred but "racial love towards his country and his people".
In the courtroom, Mr Lowell appeared tense and was visibly making an effort to retain his composure.
Last June, Mr Lowell was charged with two counts of inciting racial hatred. He was accused of inciting racial hatred by posting a reply to a message on a Website on October 25, 2002 and for the way he spoke at a meeting in Safi on January 22 last year.
During the first hearing, the prosecution had presented its evidence but the defence objected to some of the evidence produced and the court ruled this was admissible. The defence was due to start presenting its evidence.
But in a sitting on May 4, the court, presided over by Magistrate Giovanni Grixti, said the prosecution failed to turn up and said the case could not be allowed to drag on. It further decreed the case could not be reopened unless the prosecution gave a valid reason why it was absent.