A British law firm which has represented the Church of Scientology has been hired by the Maltese government to send a warning to the authors of a new book about the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
One of the book’s co-authors, former BBC journalist John Sweeney, said it is “incredible” that Maltese taxpayers are being made to foot the bill of the government’s legal costs with a London law firm. Renowned for libel cases, Carter-Ruck has had high-profile clients, including the Church of Scientology, representing it against Sweeney’s former TV show Panorma and famed British journalist Louis Theroux.
“The Maltese taxpayer, which needs to spend money on things like schools and hospitals, is spending money on a London law firm,” Sweeney told Lovin Malta. “Are there no law firms in Malta which could have done this job? Why was it necessary for the Maltese government to hire Carter Ruck?”
“Carter Ruck is known as Carter Fuck, and this firm also acts for the Church of Scientology, which is a space alien cult. I find it incredible that public money in Malta is being spent to defend the name of the Prime Minister, Chris Cardona, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi and that they’re blowing the money on lawyers who act for space aliens.”
“Come on, get on your spaceship and go back to Planet Zorg. This is a clear waste of public money. It’s also a clear attempt to threaten and intimidate us but it has the opposite effect. The moment I know Carter Fuck is on my trail, I know I’m doing a proper job.”
Sweeney said the libel risk of the book made it extremely difficult for him and fellow co-authors Manuel Delia and Carlo Bonini to find an international publisher and that it took them a year and a half of searching before eventually signing a deal with Maltese publisher Midsea Books.
However, he doesn’t think that anyone will eventually sue, arguing that taking legal action over a book written in honour of a martyred journalist would lead to bad publicity.
Carter-Ruck sent the co-authors a letter after they sent a list of questions to Joseph Muscat, as well as to his wife Michelle Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri and ministers Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona.
The letter was marked ‘private and confidential’ but its main points were included in the book, which was published yesterday evening.
Amongst other points, the British law firm called out the authors for only giving its clients a week to respond to their questions, after which time the book would have gone to print.
“Carter-Ruck says that given the serious nature of the allegations that the authors raise, and the complexity of the background, this is an unreasonably short timeframe in which to meaningfully address the claims,” the book states.
“Carter-Ruck says that the authors will appreciate that, whilst the allegations put to each individual differ, each is high defamatory. Carter-Ruck says that all of the matters put to the individuals in the authors’ correspondence are expressed, by implications, to be linked to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia as ‘the circumstances prior to and the aftermath of the assassination’ is said to be the overall subject of the book.”
“Carter-Ruck says the individuals concerns reserve all their rights in relation to the publication and repetition of any allegation that is defamatory and untrue.”