Patrick Spiteri’s detention requirement expired once extradited – lawyer
Laments that client being charged 35 cents for each photocopy
Patrick Spiteri was back in court this morning, arguing that since the extradition had been successfully executed and he was facing justice before the Maltese courts, he no longer had to be held in detention.
His lawyer explained that the arrest warrant issued under the Extradition Act was limited to the extradition – and not to the fraud proceedings under the Criminal Code, the lawyer argued.
Referring to his client’s case as a “kind of Charles Dickens story”, defence lawyer Stefano Filletti also referred to Dr Spiteri's medical condition and the fact that the only solution, proposed by a separate court, was to order his transfer to Division 15, now a medical isolation ward.
This prison wing, located partly at basement level beneath the female quarters, was a long walking distance from the chapel and other prison facilities, accessible across a car park.
Placing his client all alone in this 50-bed dormitory, intended for contagious cases and illegal immigrants, under a suicide watch, effectively meant that he would be cut off from all human contact.
“This is certainly solitary confinement and one did not need to be a psychiatrist to realize that such treatment would harm his client who was still presumed innocent,” argued Dr Filletti.
Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Abdilla pointed out that prison authorities had never been informed of Dr Spiteri's particular medical condition, which had been aggravated by the cigarette smoke and overcrowding prevalent at Corradino. This was why another court ordered his transfer to Division 15, said the prosecutor, remarking that the move was not a punitive measure.
Placing a sane person at the forensic unit of Mount Carmel was not healthy and sending him to hospital where he risked contracting some fatal illness was not an option either, the court was told.
Magistrate Josette Demicoli, presiding over today's sitting, also heard that the courts were charging 35 cents per page for copies from Dr Spiteri’s personal files, which he requires as he is preparing his defence. Renting a garage to transfer all his files there, would simply add a further financial burden on his client, Dr Filletti pointed out.
The case continues in October.