Reference is made to a blogpost by Simon Mercieca entitled “Jason Azzopardi jingħata l-annullament taż-żwieġ mit-tribunal tal-Knisja”.

Within the blogpost, Simon Mercieca makes several incorrect and defamatory remarks in relation to members of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, in particular the President of the Regional Tribunal of Second Instance, Mgr Joseph Bajada.

Among others, Simon Mercieca alleges that Mgr Bajada influenced a decision to grant Dr Azzopardi an annulment due to Mgr Bajada’s association with Dr Azzopardi in other matters.

The allegations made in the article penned by Simon Mercieca are false, untrue, factually incorrect and defamatory.

Mgr Bajada presides only over appeals of the Regional Ecclesiastical Tribunal. This is separate and distinct from the Metropolitan Tribunal.  

Neither Mgr Bajada, nor his chancellor, has any involvement, let alone any say, in cases of first instance, such as Dr Azzopardi’s. These cases fall under a separate tier of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, headed by the Judicial Vicar of the Metropolitan Tribunal of Malta.

While members of the Church have consistently sought to promote and protect journalistic principles, articles posing as journalism — whose authors make no attempt to verify the facts; and worse, employ the use of untruths to make defamatory allegations — are unreservedly condemnable.

Such a situation is of even graver concern when the author, Simon Mercieca in this case, is a Professor of History — a subject in which factual verification is paramount — at the University of Malta.