Norman Lowell in court on inciting racism
by Gerald Fenechhttp://126.96.36.199/ind/news.asp?newsitemid=18238
Dressed impeccably in a pressed white suit, looking as dapper and as suave as ever, Norman Lowell had his day in court earlier this week charged with two counts of inciting racial hatred.
The first charge related to an article titled ?Gol?s Chutzpah? written by Lowell which appeared on the website Maltafly.com on 25 October 2004. The second was in connection to a public meeting held by the accused in Safi, which allegedly was peppered with racially insensitive statements.
Dr Emy Bezzina and Dr Ian Farrugia first presented documents confirming that Lowell was abroad when the first sitting was heard on 2 June. Magistrate Giovanni Grixti upheld the accused?s request and cleared him of contempt of court.
Some initial laughs rocked across the courtroom as the court clerk asked Lowell for his details. However, he remained a serious and self-contained person answering all questions clearly and giving personal details without much ado. Lowell described himself as an ?artist? and an ?author? when asked about his occupation.
Testifying for the prosecution, Superintendent Peter Paul Zammit read out the first charge against Lowell at Dr Bezzina?s request. He said the accused was charged with incitement of racial hatred and abuse against a particular race through pejorative and degrading statements.
Supt. Zammit said several people had found an article written by Lowell with the title ?Gol?s Chutzpah? offensive and that after interrogation, Lowell had admitted that he had written the article in question.
Repeatedly questioned by Dr Bezzina, the superintendent confirmed that the police had proceeded in an ex-officio manner but added that among the complaints received, Albert Leone Ganado (former CNI) and Dr Michael Frendo had voiced their objections to the language used in the article.
Asked which words or statements in the article that incited racism, Supt. Zammit then proceeded to read the article and pointed out several words such as ?lackey?, ?mass-murderer?, ?vermin? and ?pest?, all deemed to be offensive and pejorative against a particular race.
Magistrate Grixti ruled that there was enough evidence for a formal charge to be issued and asked for the documents relating to the case to be sent to the Attorney General.
The second charge related to a public meeting organised by Lowell himself which was held in Safi on 22 January 2005. Supt. Zammit said the accused had requested permission to hold a public outdoor meeting and exhibited a CD that included a copy of a recording of the meeting that had been downloaded from the internet. He also presented a typed transcript he had compiled.
Asked by Dr Bezzina, if he had actually been present at the meeting, Supt. Zammit said he had not been there but had a copy of a recording made by one of his subordinates during the meeting. When asked if there were any racially insensitive statements in the meeting, Supt. Zammit invited the court to examine the video and judge for itself. The tape was then presented as evidence and a copy of it was passed to the defence.
The case continues.
Superintendent Peter Paul Zammit prosecuted.
Dr Ian Farrugia and Dr Emy Bezzina appeared for Lowell.
Presiding Magistrate: Dr Giovanni Grixti.