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MaltaToday 16 November 2022 MIDWEEK

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2 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 16 NOVEMBER 2022 2 MATTHEW AGIUS A defamation case filed by the widow of deceased notary Ivan Barbara, over Facebook com- ments suggesting that she de- served imprisonment, has been ceded in view of the poster's public apology and retraction. Rosanne Barbara Zarb had filed the case against Marthese Mussett over posts and com- ments uploaded by Mussett on the Facebook group Victims of Notary Ivan Barbara and Rosanne Barbara Zarb Court updates, which had been set up to assist the notary's clients after his death from COVID-19 in India last April. Barbara Zarb is the subject of a lawsuit filed by several of her late husband's clients who are seeking to recover a total of approximately €165,000, rep- resenting deposits entrusted to the notary during promise of sale agreements. The wid- ow is arguing that she had not accepted her husband's inher- itance and therefore had noth- ing to answer for. But after news of the inher- itance issue hit the headlines, several clients of the notary had made inquiries with gov- ernment departments to check whether tax they had paid on property contracts had been received. They were informed that no payment had been re- ceived, meaning that their con- tracts were never registered, also necessitating them to pay the same tax that they had al- ready paid Barbara to settle. It was in this context that Mussett had posted a series of comments about the widow on the group's page, accusing the notary's widow of having sto- len the money and that she de- served to go to jail for this. Barbara Zarb later sued Mus- sett for defamation on the basis of these comments.. In a recent sitting, the lawyers for the parties informed Mag- istrate Rachel Montebello that an amicable settlement to the dispute was a possibility. Subsequently Mussett agreed to make a public apology to Barbara Zarb, together with a declaration to this effect post- ed on the Facebook page. In that post, Mussett also de- clared that she had no relation with the widow or her deceased husband whatsoever and that her opinions about Barbara Zarb were solely based on what she had read on social media "For that reason, I withdraw unconditionally all words said in her regard," the woman de- clared. Mussett also bound herself to pay the costs of the lawsuit. In view of the defendant's pub- lication and declarations, Barbara Zarb formally ceded the case. Lawyers Pawlu Lia and Phyl- lis Aquilina assisted Barbara Zarb. Lawyer David Bonello appeared for Mussett. Widow of notary Ivan Barbara drops Facebook defamation case after apology Ex-judges touted for ombudsman, standards commissioner posts Marthese Mussett had posted a series of comments about the widow on a Facebook group, accusing her of having stolen money Rosanne Barbara Zarb (right) is the subject of a lawsuit filed by several clients of her late husband Ivan Barbara (left) KURT SANSONE TWO ex-judges are being con- sidered for the vacant posts of ombudsman and standards commissioner but the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader have yet to agree. Retired judges Joseph Zam- mit McKeon and Joseph Azz- opardi, a former chief justice, have been touted as possible replacements for ombudsman and standards commissioner respectively. Both posts require cross-par- ty support since candidates are appointed by two-thirds ma- jority in parliament. The names were released by Times of Malta on Tuesday morning after Prime Minister Robert Abela yesterday said government had put forward the names of two people and was waiting for feedback from the Opposition. MaltaToday can confirm that Zammit McKeon's name had been proposed for the role of ombudsman by Opposition leader Bernard Grech several months ago, while Azzopar- di was proposed by the Prime Minister. MaltaToday understands that Abela and Grech exchanged views on the proposed names a couple of weeks ago and had to come back with feedback. However, it appears Grech has expressed some reservations and agreement has so far not been reached but talks are ex- pected to continue. Incumbent Ombdusman An- thony Mifsud's term ended in March last year but he re- mained in office pending the appointment of a replacement. Former standards commission- er George Hyzler's term ended prematurely in September after he took up his post in the Euro- pean Court of Auditors. Azzopardi was appointed chief justice in April 2018 at 63. He relinquished the post two years later as required by the Constitution. Talks between Robert Abela and Bernard Grech are continuing as they try to agree on replacements for the posts of ombudsman and standards commissioner Former chief justice Joseph Azzopardi (left) and retired judge Joseph Zammit McKeon

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