A major development in the ongoing case of a Gozitan father suffering from kidney disease accused of being a cannabis trafficker may be on the horizon.
Christopher Bartolo already spent a year and a half locked up in Corradino Correctional Facility before he was released on temporary bail following an extraordinary cabinet decision on humanitarian grounds.
This week, Malta’s Superior Court confirmed an interim measure to wait for a constitutional court decision to be handed down on the 22nd of June – and it is set to have major implications on his case and may decide if he returns to jail or not.
Bartolo himself spoke of his fears of returning to jail, especially after recently becoming a new father and continuing to receive treatment for his kidney disease by undergoing regular dialysis every few days at hospital.
However, legal experts now wonder if the recent progressive discussion on cannabis laws, and whether the plant should be decriminalise or legalised, could have an effect on how his case proceeds.
With a major progressive awakening occurring within the island’s political class regards cannabis – the Labour Party went one step further than the government in this case and proposed full legalisation, not just decriminalisation – Bartolo’s alleged crime (selling cannabis) may actually not be seen as a crime within a few years.
Indeed, with the socio-political-legal outlook on cannabis issues changing so rapidly, and coming in line with world pioneers such as Canada and the US, his punishment should duly reflect the times.
If cannabis was regulated in Malta, as the government is proposing, then Bartolo himself would not have even needed to turn to the black market years back when allegedly seeking the therapeutic plant to address the pain associated with his potentially-fatal disease.
Having already lost three kidneys in three years, Christopher Bartolo is in a race against time.
Posted by Lovin Malta on Friday, January 5, 2018
With the man having already spent a year and a half in prison – during which time he lost a donated kidney due to misadministration within the prison itself – a potential compromise may see the courts reduce his potential prison sentence to the time he’s already served inside, effectively punishing him without entering cruel or inhumane territory.
He's home ❤
Posted by Lovin Malta on Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Though lengthy court cases cause severe stress to the accused, their families as well as slowing down the entire legal system, it does provide one benefit: giving the courts a chance to recognise and include society’s changing values into their decisions.
What do you think should happen to Christopher Bartolo?