Reformed drug addict's prison sentence reduced to probation

A drug addict has had his prison sentence substituted with probation after the court heard how he had weaned himself off drugs

The Court of Criminal Appeal has substituted a drug-addicted thief’s prison sentence with probation after noting he had weaned himself off drugs.

Sean Micallef had been jailed for 15 months by a court of magistrates in 2018 after he was found guilty of aggravated theft from a stationary in Hamrun, as well as recidivism.

Micallef’s lawyer, Marc Sant, had filed an appeal to the sentence, arguing that insufficient consideration had been given to his early guilty plea and his longstanding drug addiction.

Micallef had been abusing drugs from a young age, said the lawyer and this had not been taken into consideration, just as the fact that he had been willing to undergo a residential rehab program had been overlooked when sentencing him.

Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera was told that initially, despite previous sentences against him, the accused had not cooperated with his probation officer, although he had spent a period of time off drugs, after which he relapsed.

But he had also been in prison since March 2018 and appeared to have behaved himself well. Urine samples consistently tested negative for drugs and he had weaned himself off methadone. He was motivated to start drug rehab, noted the judge.

The court said it was of the opinion that it appeared that the appellant was finally on the right track and was making efforts to keep himself in line with his responsibilities. “Society, therefore, cannot be protected by his incarceration, but through his continued growth in responsibility,” as well as by his making financial reparations to the victim.

The court ordered Micallef to pay €500 to the victim and warned him severely that if he failed to abide by the conditions of his probation order he should not expect clemency. “This is the last opportunity that [the court] is going to give him to get onto the right track.”

The appeals court judge, therefore, confirmed the finding of guilt and revoked his prison sentence, instead of placing him under probation for three years.