Former drug addict relapsed after cancer diagnosis, court told

A court has heard how a man arrested on drugs charges had overcome his addiction but had fallen back into his drug habit after being diagnosed with cancer

The accused was found to be in possession of cocaine and heroin in circumstances which denoted they were not intended for his personal use
The accused was found to be in possession of cocaine and heroin in circumstances which denoted they were not intended for his personal use

A court has heard how a man arrested on drugs charges had overcome his addiction but had fallen back into his drug habit after being diagnosed with cancer.

The 31-year-old man was remanded in custody this morning after being arrested yesterday and found to be in possession of cocaine and heroin in circumstances which denoted they were not intended for his personal use.

The man’s charges were further aggravated by the fact that he had been apprehended less that 100m away from a school or club. He was also charged with breaching a suspended sentence and other judicially-imposed conditions.

His lawyer Yanika Bugeja entered a plea of not guilty and requested bail.

Inspector Gabriel Micallef and Jonathan Ransley objected to bail as the man lacked a fixed address. His registered address was his parent's home in Valletta, the court was told, but he had been found by the police, sharing a room in a Gzira hotel with a friend. Inspector Ransley pointed out that the hotel room's smoke detectors had been found to be taped over, implying that they would consume drugs there.

The accused was not trustworthy, they submitted, and was currently undergoing several separate proceedings for theft, having also failed to appear for several court sittings. His lawyer explained to the court that the accused had been undergoing cancer treatment at the time. The bad news about his diagnosis had led him to relapse into drug use, she said.

“He had been in a room with two friends of his. He doesn't appear to be a danger to society. He lives with his parents. If he goes to prison he will end up worse than before,” the lawyer argued.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech was adamant in her refusal to release the man on bail again, however, saying the accused had thrown away many previous chances. “If the accused needs assistance, the court can make recommendations for the treatment of his addiction, but he can't avoid prison just because of this.”

The court refused the man bail on the grounds of the accused's demonstrated untrustworthiness, ordering the prison authorities to provide him with any and all treatment he required.

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