A woman was handed a €1,000 fine after a Facebook argument with another woman who received compensation, over the Leader of the Partit Nazzjonalista, Adrian Delia.
The argument arose on a 12,000 member strong Facebook group. Jasmine Urry had openly criticised pet groomer Charmaine Martin. The Court heard how Martin had stopped working for a while for health reasons. When she recovered, she contacted all her clients, including Urry, to let them know that she was back in business. Urry then answered Martin saying she didn’t want to remain her client because of insulting comments about the Opposition Leader.
Urry subsequently posted a photo of a personal message by Martin on a Facebook group, ‘Grupp PN’, saying that Martin was in a relationship with ex-PN candidate Wayne Hewitt. She also said that work and politics shouldn’t mix. Martin found out about the post and asked Urry to remove it, but the poster refused. Martin then decided to file a Police report, but Urry persisted in refusing to go to the station to resolve the issue. The post was later removed by the group’s administrator.
Urry said that the post was motivated by the fact that Hewitt had openly spoken out against Delia’s candidature. Upon consideration, Magistrate Francesco Depasquale concluded that Urry decided to attack Martin publicly with insinuations about her professionalism to sully her reputation.
The Magistrate commented that, unfortunately, rather than it being used to unite people, social media is being used to cause problems and cause division within groups. This is leading to the spread of extreme ideas. On that note, the court declared that the allegations were defamatory and Urry was ordered to pay Urry $1,000 in compensation.