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Malta / Civil Court / 33/2014

Jane Agius v Attorney General, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, Prime Minister

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
15/01/2015

Key facts of the case:

Jane Agius, the sole heir of Carlos Chetcuti, filed a Constitutional Case and claimed a breach of the State’s obligation under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the corresponding Article 33 of the Maltese Constitution. In 1995, Carlos Chetcuti had died of a pulmonary oedema after being administered a fatal dose of methadone, as part of his drug rehabilitation treatment, during his imprisonment at the Corradino Correctional Facility (prison). In 2014, the Court of Appeal ordered the Director of Prisons to pay €38, 213 in material damages to Mr. Chetcuti’s heirs. Subsequently, Ms. Agius filed an application before the Civil Court, First Hall, (Constitutional Jurisdiction) and claimed a breach of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the corresponding Article 33 of the Maltese Constitution as already proven in the aforementioned civil case. The applicant also claimed that existing laws that do not make provision for the granting of moral damages under the Civil Code (CAP 16 of the Laws of Malta) breach Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (effective remedy). 

Outcome of the case:

The Court found that on the basis of local and international jurisprudence the applicant did not have recourse to the ordinary remedies at law and therefore had no choice other than constitutional and conventional remedies. Therefore, the Court chose to use the special powers granted to it through its constitutional and conventional competences. The Court found that the applicant was requesting moral damages for breaches of Article 2 of the Convention and Article 33 of the Constitution and that ordinary remedies for such did not exist under Maltese law and therefore only constitutional and conventional remedies where available thus allowing the request to be heard. The Court found that there had been a breach of both of Article 2 of the Convention and Article 33 of the Constitution and that the state failed to protect the life of the prison in question.