The First Hall Civil Court (Constitutional Jurisdiction) ordered the Attorney General to pay Antonio Gatt the sum of €10,000 in moral damages, after deciding that the criminal proceedings against Antonio Gatt, which ended up in him being declared not guilty of all the charges brought against him, took an unreasonable amount of time to be concluded. This judgment may be considered a landmark judgment when one takes into consideration the amount of compensation granted by the Court.
The criminal proceedings against the applicant were instituted by the Police on the 23rd April 2001, were Gatt was accused of drug trafficking. Antonio Gatt was found not guilty of all the charges brought against him on the 11th July 2018 – more than 17 years after the commencement of proceedings. For 15 years, the applicant was subject to several bail conditions, including having to be home by 23.30pm and to sign at the Police Station once a week.
Antonio Gatt filed for Constitutional redress against the Attorney General, claiming that his right to a fair hearing was breached due to an unreasonable amount of time which the proceedings took.
Judge Robert G Mangion in (today’s) judgement decided in favour of Gatt, emphasizing that criminal proceedings should not take so long, even because of the moral damage that they cause to a person who is undergoing criminal proceedings.
Dr Joseph Giglio and Dr Sarah Mifsud appeared for Antonio Gatt.
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