Convict asks for sentence set-off

The Constitutional Court had been asked by a man serving a prison sentence for aggravated theft to deduct from his sentence a number of years he spent under arrest for another offence and for which he was not convicted

A man serving a prison sentence for aggravated theft has asked the Constitutional Court to deduct from his sentence a number of years he spent under arrest for another offence and for which he was not convicted.

Jeremy James Farrugia, 33, has a history of trouble with the law, with several convictions to his name. He had been arrested in connection with a hold up in 2006 and was cleared in 2008.

He was not granted bail in the interim period. Farrugia argued that this prolonged detention was a violation of his human rights.

Even if there was reasonable suspicion, the length of time he was remanded in custody was not justified, said his lawyer Joe Brincat, in an application filed before the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional jurisdiction this morning.

Farrugia was subsequently jailed for eight years in 2011 following separate proceedings for aggravated theft, but as this sentence nears its end, he is seeking to set off the time spent in custody for the crime he didn’t commit.

He is being held in prison “for nothing”, said his lawyer.

Quoting judgments by the European Court for Human Rights, Brincat argued that the man should have been granted bail but as this had not been granted, the time spent in preventive custody for the offence which he had been declared innocent of should be reduced from his sentence.

He also requested the court to grant financial compensation accordingly.

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