Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis has pledged to propose concrete solutions to Malta’s drugs laws and court delays within the coming months
“Sometimes it may be easier and convenient to attack the system and not propose concrete proposals for change,” the Minister told Lovin Malta.
“I will not do that. I will not do any knee jerk reaction, but will propose solutions to the drug system after consulting experts from different fields and to ensure criminal prosecution within a reasonable time in the coming months.”
“I can do it as I did extensive constitutional and institutional reforms in record time in 2020.”
Yesterday, 25-year-old Jean-Marc Dalli, the son of EU Commissioner Helena Dalli, was imprisoned for three months for giving his friend six ecstasy pills outside a party eight years ago.
Zammit Lewis said he will refrain from commenting on the merit of the particular case and that “a lot of thought and caution” must be put into any possible legal changes.
“Moreover, it is important to note that the judiciary researches into the merits of the case to give a clear, definitive and just judgment as much as possible,” he said.
However, Dalli’s case shone a spotlight on the state of Malta’s drug laws and the long time courts often take to deliver a verdict.
Criminal lawyer Franco Debono 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 and Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms Rosianne Cutajar both called out the exaggerated delay between Dalli’s prosecution and conviction as being unjust.
Former PN leader Adrian Delia warned the laws are creating injustices if the courts cannot properly distinguish drug traffickers from users.