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'I never stayed at a hotel': Konrad Mizzi's wife Sai testifies in libel case

Caruana Galizia had alleged the minister was involved in a tryst with his aide

Konrad Mizzi’s wife confirmed in court on Monday that she regularly travelled to Malta with the couple's children and always stayed at her husband's Sliema residence.

Sai Mizzi Liang was testifying via Skype call in the course of libel proceedings instituted by her husband and herself against Daphne Caruana Galizia over allegations in a 2014 blog post that the minister was having an extramarital affair with his communications aide Lindsey Gambin, the reason why "his wife left for China".

Both the Mizzi couple as well as Ms Gambin had subsequently filed separate libel suits against Ms Caruana Galizia, claiming that the story was unfounded and untrue, intended solely to tarnish their reputation.

Following the minister’s own testimony in court last month, Ms Mizzi Liang on Monday faced cross-examination during a hearing purposely scheduled for the Skype call. Her husband was not present for the hearing.

“So many times! Every few months,” Ms Mizzi Liang replied, laughingly, in reply to the first question put to her by the Caruana Galizia family lawyer as to the number of times she visited Malta since 2013.

Checking her diary, Ms Mizzi Liang declared that she had been on her last visit earlier this year at Easter and visited the island for every school holiday, namely, Easter, summer and Christmas.

Last year, the minister's wife also came over for the 2017 general elections, she said, declaring  she always brought her children along with her when she came to Malta.

Asked by Dr Joseph Zammit Maempel, the Caruana Galizias' lawyer, to say where she resided when in Malta, Ms Mizzi Liang said she stayed at her husband’s Sliema home, explaining that her Paola address was intended solely for voting purposes.

“So do you exclude that you ever stayed at a hotel?” Dr Zammit Maempel pressed further.

“That is completely a lie. I never stayed at a hotel,” was the witness’s prompt reply, echoing a reply given by her husband in May when questioned over the same issue in open court.

As for the couple’s children, these stayed either with the minister and his spouse or else were cared for by relatives and friends of the couple, Ms Mizzi Liang concluded, bringing to an end the Skype communication which only lasted minutes.

As the applicants’ lawyer, Dr Aron Mifsud Bonnici, informed the court that he had no further evidence to put forward, it would now be the respondent’s turn to put forward evidence, a task which had been rendered more awkward and difficult following the journalist’s assassination, Dr Zammit Maempel pointed out.

In a sitting in November 2015, Ms Caruana Galizia had testified how a "very high-ranking police officer", subsequently retired, who had tipped her off about having spotted the then-Energy Minister in an intimate embrace with Ms Gambin.

He had told her that he had seen them one night at the bar of the Tiffany Champagne and Cigar Room at Portomaso, drinking champagne. The two had allegedly been sitting next to each other, their body language indicating that there was more between them than just a professional relationship.

Lawyer Aaron Mifsud Bonnici and Abigail Critien are assisting Dr Mizzi and his wife.

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