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One Month After Humanitarian Plea For Renal Failure Prisoner, Justice Minister Remains Silent

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One month after the lawyers of Christopher Bartolo, the man with no kidneys locked up in prison for a sentence that may be void, filed a special bail request for Mr Bartolo to be let out until his case is re-assessed, and there has been no decision by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici or President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca. 

Not only that, but this week the next part of his appeal was meant to be heard, only for the case to be deferred by a month, till February. 

His case has become an important case for the Maltese judiciary system – Christopher Bartolo’s sentence could show years of imposed human rights breaches. 

And judging by his constitutional court win that recently judged that, indeed, his human rights had been breached in his interrogation, his grounds for bail are only getting stronger.

7447 Owen Bonnici

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici

Christopher Bartolo’s family expressed disappointment that his case had been deferred for a month, saying that time was of the essence in his case, and that all it needed was for one thing to go wrong and Christopher could die.

They also said that just this week they had presented a medical certificate to the president which showed that prison is not good for his health. 

It is worth noting that just last month, Patrick Spiteri, the fraudulent lawyer who embezzled €7.4 million, was granted bail by the courts after his doctor confirmed that his skin lesions were getting worse in prison, due to “the smoke and stress.”

With two pending appeals, Christopher Bartolo is stuck in legal limbo, and with his application to the president now one month old, his family are beginning to worry if this application will be ignored and pushed aside as well.

They are especially hurt that the Justice Minister hasn’t answered their bail plea as Christopher Bartolo serves a punishment which has not been definitely decided yet. 

2 President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca

Sources familiar with this case said that it was interesting to see how the authorities “talk about the delays in court, but then they take a month to see a humanitarian case like this, and they can’t even get it done.”

The next step in this saga might be the filing of another constitutional case on the grounds that Christopher Bartolo hasn’t been granted bail with no valid reasons forthcoming. 

It could be argued that his lack of bail may have breached his human rights since all requests must be seen within a reasonable timeframe under EU charter law. 

This constitutional case may even rope in the President, since in terms of article 574(2) of the Criminal Code the application for bail would be addressed to the President.

This would mean she would have had two court cases in her term: first the case regarding the Paqpaqli tragedy, and now the Christopher Bartolo case, if his lawyers go forward with it. 

Prior to this, it was almost unheard of to institute a case against the President.

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Christopher Bartolo

Do you think Christopher Bartolo should be allowed out on bail?

READ NEXT: Justice Minister To Review Renal Failure Prisoner’s ‘Last Resort’ Bail Plea

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