Youth acquitted of drug possession

Gozitan youth acquitted of drug possession charges, claims the police scared him during interrogation.

A Gozitan minor was acquitted of charges of drug possession, with the Court ruling that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt.

The case goes back to 8 June 2013 when, acting on anonymous information, the Gozo police went to Gharb and found a car without number plates. Inside the vehicle were five youths including the accused. Inside the pockets of the youth sitting in the driver’s seat, investigators found a film cartridge with cannabis resin inside it. Other pieces of cannabis resin were found on the back seat.

Both the accused and the driver were arraigned, however the other youth emigrated to Australia and his case was put off sine die.

Pleading not guilty, the accused took the witness stand and explained that on the day of the incident he was 15 years old. He recounted how when the police searched him, they found nothing. However he was taken to the Rabat Police Station and questioned. “Everyone was shouting at me, the police, my parents, the inspector. Officers were telling me that if I admit it would help my situation”.

He explained he was at his friend’s garage and saw him smoke a joint, when he asked him to let him try it. “I wanted to experiment because I had heard it gives you a happy feeling”. Asked by the court when he had last smoked Cannabis, the youth replied, “earlier today”.

His testimony was corroborated by both his mother and father. The mother told the court that she shouted at her son because she was under shock and over-reacted. The father claimed he entered the police station and heard the police shouting from inside the room. He described the shouting as frightening. “When my son came out of the room, he looked scared”, he said.

Officers giving evidence in the case confirmed the youth was part of the group of five apprehended in Gharb. They also confirmed that searches on the accused gave negative results.

Magistrate Neville Camilleri ruled that the prosecution had not exhibited enough evidence to prove that the accused, who was still a minor, was guilty of drug possession. The youth was acquitted.