Emmy Bezzina condemned for ‘frivolous’ libel
Flamboyant lawyer Emmy Bezzina was yesterday rebuked by a magistrate who criticised the hateful and frivolous libel he had filed against the estranged wife of a client.
Magistrate Francesco Depasquale also fined the client €700 for wasting the court’s time and referred the matter to the Commission for the Administration of Justice, calling for Dr Bezzina to be investigated for filing these proceedings.
The case revolves around a strange suit filed by Dr Bezzina on behalf of both his client James Delmar and Mr Delmar’s two-year-old daughter, against his estranged wife Charlene Delmar.
During the ongoing separation proceedings Ms Delmar alleged around August 2008 that her husband had forced himself upon her.
She had filed an official complaint against her husband with the police, asking them to take criminal action against him.
The man reacted by filing a lengthy sworn statement (that the court said had been prepared for him by someone else) in which he declared that his wife had made false and defamatory allegations about him.
On top of this, he also filed a libel suit.
The magistrate ruled that Mr Delmar had absolutely no reason to file a libel action on behalf of his daughter, for it did not result that she had been libelled.
Moreover, statements made as part of judicial proceedings are considered privileged, which means they are not subject to any libel action.
In the same vein, Mrs Delmar’s letter to police in which she asked for criminal proceedings to be initiated against her estranged husband was also privileged, as this was the first necessary step for such proceedings to be filed.
Magistrate Depasquale ruled Mr Delmar’s libel action was hateful and frivolous and ought not to have been filed, especially as he had chosen to involve his young child in a fight between himself and his wife.
No one was entitled to abuse libel proceedings to put pressure on an adversary in other court proceedings.
This abuse was to be condemned and penalised because it had led to the court’s precious time being wasted over feelings of hurt pride, which had been encouraged by Mr Delmar’s lawyer, Dr Bezzina.
The court therefore dismissed Mr Delmar’s action and ordered him to pay all the costs of the litigation. The court also imposed an additional fine of €700 on Mr Delmar.
Lawyer Michael Tanti Dougall assisted Ms Delmar.