Business magnate Silvio Debono has dropped 19 libel cases he filed against the late Daphne Caruana Galizia after reaching out of court settlement with Caruana Galizia’s family.
Magistrate Victor Grech, who was presiding over the case, decreed today that all 19 cases had been formally ceded.
Debono had filed 19 cases against the journalist in March 2017 over articles she had written about the controversial deal that saw land on which the former Institute for Tourism Studies was located in St George’s Bay transferred to the group for the construction of a hotel as well as a residential and commercial complex.
The suits were filed at a time when the DB Group was engaged in a war of words with the Nationalist Party, after the party had come out against the conditions of the land transfer.
In response, the group had privately asked Busuttil to return money the group had donated to the party. This was interpreted as an attempt at blackmail by Busuttil who had in turn gone public with the request.
In filing the lawsuits, Debono had taken advantage of the fact that the law at the time, allowed one to sue for each comment or statement in an article which they felt was libellous. This was eventually changed through amendments to Malta’s libel laws.
Back in November, Debono had told the courts that while he wanted to “defend his rights” he was also willing to reach a compromise with the family, which has stepped in and taken responsibility for ongoing proceedings against the journalist, who was assassinated in October 2017.
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