Daniel Holmes’s lawyers say Malta’s drug laws, disparity in sentencing, Attorney General’s discretion violated Welshman’s right to fair trial and effective remedy.
Nearly nine years after Daniel Holmes was arrested in his Gozo apartment following a cannabis find, his tumultuous and infamous battle with the Maltese courts is set for another round as the Welshman is now expected to file a case against Malta in the European Court of Human Rights.
The case, which is currently in the process of being filed by Holmes’s defence counsel, will, amongst others, attack Malta’s “archaic and unconstitutional” drug laws, the Attorney General’s discretion, the disparity in sentencing, as well as the court’s lengthy proceedings.
Speaking to MaltaToday, Holmes’s defence counsel, lawyers Franco Debono and Michela Spiteri, explained that the case will call on the Strasbourg court to rule that Holmes’s rights to fair trial and effective remedy had been breached by the Maltese courts.
Daniel Alexander Holmes, 36, of Newport, Wales, is currently serving a ten-and-a-half-year sentence for cannabis cultivation – a judgment that triggered protests at Malta’s severe drug laws. His appeal in 2013 was rejected, while in October a landmark judgment by the Constitutional Court ruled that Holmes’s “right to fair trial had been breached,” and more poignantly, the judge ruled that Malta’s drug laws – specifically, Article 22(1) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance – were unconstitutional.
However, any glimmer of hope – as well as the ‘paltry’ €7,000 compensation that Holmes was awarded – were quashed as a constitutional court of appeal revoked the first court’s judgment and ruled that the Welshman’s rights were not breached by trial delays.