Magistrate throws out 35-year-old drug case

A man charged with cannabis possession in 1984 when he was still 26, has been acquitted at 61 after the court ruled the case to be time-barred

A man caught with cannabis in 1984 was acquitted in 2019
A man caught with cannabis in 1984 was acquitted in 2019

A magistrate has thrown out a 35-year-old drug case against a man who was accused of cannabis possession in 1984.

Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo ruled the case against the man, who is 61 today, to be time-barred.

The man from Sliema was charged in April 1984 with possession of cannabis resin and seeds, and of cultivating the plant. At the time, the man was 26-years-old.

The charges were filed in front of Magistrate Geoffrey Valenzia, who was later appointed judge. 

The man had failed to show up for the case and in June that year, an arrest warrant was issued.

In December 1984 the Attorney General initiated extradition proceedings after it was established that the man had gone to live abroad.

In her judgment this morning, Farrugia Frendo considered that the man was now 61-years-old, was facing a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a fine of €2,333.

She ruled that in such a case the prescriptive period was of two years. The case became time-barred in February 1987, two years after extradition procedures were started but never continued.

Lawyer Stefano Filletti was defence lawyer.