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‘Community Work, Not Jail’: Labour MP Urges Malta To Reform Its Drug Laws

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Malta’s drug laws need to be reformed to ensure people don’t end up imprisoned for minor cases, Labour MP Ian Castaldi Paris has said.  

Time to think of re-legislating to ensure  that people who have in the past made mistakes such as having a joint or some minor drugs or even, perhaps for kicks, shared a drug, start having community work instead of jail.”

“This in the light of offences which were carried out years ago when one was still absent-minded.”

Castaldi Paris spoke out after Jean-Marc Dalli was imprisoned for three months for giving his friend six ecstasy pills outside a party eight years ago.

Criminal lawyer Franco Debono has also called for a reform of a law which forbids the courts from handing out lenient sentences to people caught with drugs within 100m of places, including schools, parties and bars, where young people tend to gather.

Meanwhile, Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola focused on the fact that it took the courts eight years to deliver justice to Dalli, meaning he was arrested when he was 18 and jailed when he was 25.

“I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Justice delayed is justice denied,” she said.

An 18-year-old boy waiting for eight years for judgment before being sentenced to three months in prison is simply too long to have to wait.”

“It is part of the same sad story we see time and again. 12 years ago, a 16-year-old child was arrested on a criminal charge. He is still waiting for his judgment.”

“It is not about individual cases. This is not about guilt or otherwise. This is about the time it takes justice. Our society must push back against criminality, but we cannot allow cases to drag on for years or decades.

A system that allows for that to happen while someone could take the opportunity to reform their lives is a broken system. Fix the system.”

Do you think Malta should reform its drug laws?

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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