Fireworks enthusiasts have appealed against a landmark court judgment that could make a number of established fireworks factories illegal.

The St Helens fireworks factory and the Malta Pyrotechnic Society have filed an appeal against a court ruling on March 26 in favour of a family that complained about fireworks let off close to their house for the feast of St Helen in Birkirkara.

Permits have been issued allowing fireworks to be let off from areas closer to built-up zones than what the law actually stipulates.

The reason was that the law defined inhabited area as a place where more than 100 people live.

However, the Zammit Maempel family contested this and won.

Mr Justice Raymond C. Pace declared the legal definition null and void because it discriminates against people who live in sparsely inhabited areas.

In the two separate appeals filed yesterday, both the factory and the society contended that the judge had made an error when citing European rulings based on the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The article cited says that "everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence". It continues that "there shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others".

The society claimed that the rulings cited by the judge in the judgment were based on an examination between serious environmental pollution and the respect of privacy, family and home. The rulings dealt with incidents that undermined the people involved because of the permanent and irreversible effects that had affected them whereas this was not the case with fireworks being let off, the society and the factory claimed.

They also pointed out that the family in question knew about the fireworks before they bought the house.

Lawyer Michael Falzon appeared for the Malta Pyrotechnic Society.

Lawyers Edward Zammit Lewis and Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi appeared for St Helens Factory.

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