Man found not guilty of drug possession … in 2004
Adrian Abela was yesterday acquitted of accusations of possession of cannabis, selling the drug, and for committing the crimes within 100m of an area where youths gather, a case that dates back to 2004.
At around 11.45 pm on 17 January 2004, Joseph Abela, the man’s father, filed a report at the Zejtun police station, taking what he suspected to be cannabis rolled in toilet paper with him, saying he found them in his son’s (Adrian Abela) jacket. Adrian Abela was arrested the next day and a statement was taken.
The Court noted that the accused gave a statement at a time when the law did not permit an arrested person to obtain legal advice prior to interrogation, however it still decided that the statement is inadmissible due to the very fact that he was not given the right to obtain legal advice.
The Magistrate quoted jurisprudence, noting that in Mario Borg vs Malta, The European Court of Human Rights noted a violation of the accused’s rights due to no legal assistance while in police custody.
The Magistrate also said that while procedures have been ongoing for nine years, only three witnesses testified. The Court noted that the accused’s father did not testify, and the substances passed on to the police were not exhibited by the prosecution. The Magistrate noted that a forensic analysis of the substances did not even take place.
Dr Franco Debono, Dr Marion Camilleri and Dr Angie Muscat represented the defence.