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Man’s Three-Year Prison Sentence Overturned Because Wrong Official Prosecuted His Case 

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A man serving a three-year prison sentence after admitting to helping illegal migrants enter Malta through the use of false documents has been freed on appeal after a court declared the manner in which his case was prosecuted was illegal. 

The judgment follows one earlier this month in which another individual, who had been handed a six-month sentence after attempting to use a false document, also had his sentence overturned on appeal after his lawyers pointed out that the wrong official had prosecuted the case. 

The court agreed that the Principal Immigration Officer had no legal power to prosecute such cases in a decision with potentially far-reaching implications on other cases. 

It is unclear how long the practice has been ongoing, but currently, passport-related offences are prosecuted by the Principal Immigration Officer. It is similarly unclear what the implication is for individuals sentenced to a prison term and who are no longer within the permitted time window to file an appeal.

In this latest judgment, Mohamed Omar Adam from Somalia had pleaded guilty when he was charged back in July and was sentenced to three years in prison. 

He then changed legal counsel and appealed the decision by also arguing that the Principal Immigration Officer had no legal power to prosecute his case. 

The court, presided over by Judge Giovanni Grixti, observed that the law was clear in that the Principal Immigration Officer had no authority to lead the prosecution.

The man had his sentence overturned and was cleared from all guilt. 

Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb appeared for the accused. 

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Yannick joined Lovin Malta in March 2021 having started out in journalism in 2016. He is passionate about politics and the way our society is governed, and anything to do with numbers and graphs. He likes dogs more than he does people.

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