A prison inmate claimed in court today that a kidney transplant procedure he undertook before he was sentenced went to waste due to inadequate treatment by the authorities.
Christopher Bartolo, 36, from Fontana, was last April sentenced to five years in jail and a €15,000 fine after he admitted to trafficking 1.5kg of cannabis resin rather than undergo trial by jury. According to evidence heard in court, Mr Bartolo was caught with 167.52 grams of the plant.
The criminal court, presided over by Madame Justice Edwina Grima, had heard how the accused had resorted to cannabis as a form of painkiller following his diagnosis of end-stage kidney disease.
His medical condition had deteriorated to such extent that he ended up jobless and eventually wheelchair bound. Finding himself in such circumstances, he had turned to drug trafficking.
When he was caught out and while awaiting criminal trial, the accused's life took an upward turn when he received a kidney donation. Following the transplant procedure, he once again became gainfully occupied, settled down and set up a family. Adequate treatment for his depression further lent his life a positive tone.
However, all this progress was allegedly lost upon his admission to prison.
Sources said a lack of appropriate nutrition and medical treatment behind the prison walls signified a deterioration in the inmate’s condition.
Denying him anti-rejection drugs normally prescribed to transplant patients meant that the man's transplanted kidney went to waste.
Describing the situation as “illegal and a violation of basic human rights, as sanctioned by the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,” the inmate filed a judicial protest against the director of the Corradino Correctional Facility, the Justice Minister and the Attorney General.
They were called upon to ensure that Mr Bartolo received all the necessary medical care during his stay in prison.
Failure to do so signified that they would face criminal and civil liability for any negative consequences suffered by the applicant.
Lawyer Maxilene Pace signed the judicial protest.