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Acquittal of editor, writer confirmed by appeals court

An appeals’ court yesterday confirmed the acquittal of an editor and a writer who had been charged with distributing pornography in the form of a story published in the University-distributed newspaper Realtà.

On March 14 last year, Magistrate Audrey Demicoli cleared student editor Mark Camilleri and author Alex Vella Gera who had published a piece entitled Li Tkisser Sewwi (Fix what you break). It was a satirical piece that used vulgar language in a spoof of a fictitious slovenly male character.

The Attorney General had appealed the decision, claiming that the court had appreciated the evidence incorrectly.

However, Mr Justice David Scicluna said in his judgement that the court had in fact appreciated the evidence correctly and upheld the reasoning that the law did not provide a clear definition of what was obscene and that the prosecution did not provide enough evidence to show how the story offended public morals.

Mr Camilleri and Mr Vella Gera said after that the judgement freed the local literary scene from the threat of prosecution and the danger of self censorship. “Nonetheless, this does not mean that the laws with which we have been prosecuted are justified. No minister, magistrate, attorney general or police officer has the right to give an absolute definition of art and distinguish it from other material,” they said.

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