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‘Prison Is Easier Than The Alternative’: Denied An ID Card, Maltese-Brit’s Life Placed On Seven Year Hold

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A 32-year-old British-Maltese’s life has been on hold ever since he was charged with cannabis trafficking in 2014, had his ID card, passport and drivers license confiscated by the court and has yet to receive a replacement.

Ever since his arrest for possession of cannabis with the intention to sell, Max* has not been able to access medical care, social benefits, a police conduct to apply for employment or any action that requires state identification.

“It will be easier to go back to prison,” he told Lovin Malta. “At least there I get three meals a day, an education, a job.”

Unable to pay for bail, he spent two years in prison at the start of his case and was let out in 2016 with a guarantee of €10,000.

While the courts seized all identification documents as part of normal procedure, a court order should grant the accused a temporary means identification.

However, Max said he has been repeatedly turned away by Identity Malta, who tell him they don’t have the remit to grant him these papers “when the original has been deposited under the authority of the courts”. 

Max, who also suffers a severe chronic condition, couldn’t continue receiving his disability benefits which he was entitled to from the UK.

He can’t hold down employment, having to leave each time a police conduct is asked for, a paper that requires state ID.

Without access to any employment or benefits, Max is entirely dependent on his mother, his life effectively put on hold until his court case, seven years on, goes on.

Max’s lawyers recently filed a court application, calling for his residential permit to be released.

“The fact that the applicant does not have any identification document is creating huge problems to the applicant, who wishes to find a full-time job. However, because of the fact that he has no identification document, this is impossible to take place,” the application reads.

“[This is] seriously hampering and prejudicing the fundamental right of [Max] to find employment, amongst other aspects that require an identification document.”

*The name has been changed to protect his identity 

Lovin Malta has reached out to Alex Muscat, the Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities, and did not receive a response at the time of writing.

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