Updated | Reformed drug trafficker William Agius jailed for three years

Reformed William Agius pleaded guilty today in an ecstasy trafficking case dating back to 2004 • Judge opts for lowest punishment at law

William Agius (Photo: Xarabank)
William Agius (Photo: Xarabank)

William Agius, 31, who was caught in possession of 2,043 ecstasy pills in 2004, was today sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges brought against him.

Agius, who was 18 at the time, was arrested 14 years ago, along with his drug supplier Geordie Felice, close to San Bastjan parish church in Qormi, in what was at the time the biggest-ever ecstasy drug haul.

He was on Monday accused before judge Antonio Mizzi, of aggravated possession, association and drug trafficking, and admitted to all three charges.

Agius faced a minimum punishment of four years' imprisonment and a maximum of 20 years. However, the judge chose to give a lesser jail term, in line with what the magistrate's court could give, which was possible due to an amendment to the law.

Mizzi handed Agius a three-year prison term and fined €3,000. Agius was ordered to pay 50% of the fees of a court-appointed architect. The court also ordered the confiscation of his assets.

Agius, who has since been rehabilitated and off drugs for several years, was recently in the news amid arguments that sending him to prison would only serve to destroy the progress he had made in his life.

Psychotherapist Mariella Dimech, television presenter Peppi Azzopardi, Santina Camilleri from Caritas and reformed drug addict Christopher Azzopardi all testified in court today that Agius had completely changed his ways, turned his life around, and was no longer involved with drugs.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had also weighed in on the debate, describing the circumstances Agius found himself today as "an anomaly" and something the government was committed to address.

Since the accused pleaded guilty, no trial by jury could take place.

Lawyer Gianella Busuttil from the Attorney General’s office prosecuted.

Lawyer Joe Giglio was defence counsel.

A sensible judgement – Justice Minister

Speaking in parliament later in the day, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici insisted that the sentence was a sensible one, given the circumstances.

He emphasised that when the arrest took place, it had been reported as the biggest ecstasy hauls ever made in the country.

Bonnici said that despite the fact that he had not yet read judge Antonio Mizzi’s sentence, he was happy to see that the courts had embraced the changes made to the country’s drug laws and had started to view drug addicts as people who needed help.

“I want to send an important message. I am informed that cases were 2,000 pills are involved usually get a sentence of between 9 and 12 years,” said Bonnici, adding that Mizzi had given the lowest possible sentence.

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