Mellieħa mayor wins libel damages
Nationalist mayor Robert Cutajar won €1,000 in damages after a court found yesterday that he had been libelled by the Labour Party-owned TV station One in 2006.
Mr Cutajar, who works as a communications officer at the Prime Minister’s Office, had sued journalists Miriam Dalli and Charlon Gouder for libel complaining that his name had been mentioned in a One News bulletin in connection with court proceedings on fraud. The station had reported that Mr Cutajar had received €1,165 to find a job for a certain Lee Degiorgio.
The item referred to a court case involving Francis Mizzi who had allegedly promised a couple a job in return for about €1,000, which he said he would pass on to Mr Cutajar.
In court, Mr Mizzi specified that he had not spoken to Mr Cutajar and had kept the money for himself.
Magistrate Joseph Apap Bologna argued that the way the story was reported would have led people to believe that Mr Mizzi was in agreement with Mr Cutajar and had paid Mr Cutajar money.
The reporting of the court case was not accurate and Mr Cutajar had been libelled, the magistrate ruled, ordering Dr Dalli and Mr Gouder to each pay €500 in damages to the Mellieħa mayor.