An appeals court has overturned a one-year jail term for a man caught with cannabis in 2008 but who has since kicked his drug habit.
Mr Justice Neville Camilleri upheld a recommendation by both the Drug Offenders Rehabilitation Board and Caritas, who reported that Conray Azzopardi had successfully concluded his rehabilitation programme and now required stability in his life.
The board had closed Azzopardi’s case after noting he had followed his care plan, despite his medical conditions.
It told the court that his application for medicinal cannabis had been rejected by the health authorities because of a policy that those who ever attended the detox centre for treatment were automatically disqualified from eligibility to medicinal cannabis.
Azzopardi should be given as much assistance as possible so that he would not have to resort to substances, the board recommended.
Noting this recommendation and the conclusions of a social inquiry report, Mr Justice Camilleri said the man’s jail term deserved to be overturned. In its place, the court imposed a two-year probation order so that Azzopardi can continue to be monitored.
Azzopardi was arrested in June 2008 during a police raid of a Marsascala apartment in which officers found items related to drug taking.
During the search, Azzopardi tried to escape but dropped a bag containing cannabis wrapped in individual packets. The police also found €250 in cash inside the apartment.
The accused was convicted of drug possession in circumstances denoting it was not for his personal use but cleared of trafficking. Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb were defence counsel.