Magistrate states that granting of bail should also consider interests of society

Magistrate Joseph Mifsud has stated that, when granting bail to people accused of serious crimes, the Court also needs to consider the interests of society and not just those of the accused.

He said this when two days ago he was deciding on a request to grant bail to the accused Herman Sant, who is charged with possession of drugs in circumstances which show that they were not for his exclusive use.

He said that the Court considers the interests of the accused whose freedom has already been taken away and on the other hand it needs to balance these interests with the interests of the Republic which needs to see justice being done without any obstacles.

He added that one should also bear in mind what the family of the accused is going through, who are often suffering in the silence of their home, frightened, threatened and robbed by their own children.

He said that apart from this, one also needs to protect the interests of members of society who are often the victims of theft, violence and threats in their home, streets and shops.

“The Court is afraid that over the last few years we have placed too much emphasis on the rights of the accused, as it should be, but we did not pay enough attention to all those who live in our society who also need the protection of the Courts,” said Magistrate Mifsud.

In his decision, the Magistrate considered that the accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise, however he also considered the serious accusations and the fact that the accused was found guilty of breaching his bail conditions, and that his police record was not clean.

The Court therefore turned down his request for bail.