Malta: Court of Criminal Appeal overturns decision of Magistrates Court in sea rescue case

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

On 7 January 2020, the Court of Criminal Appeal published its judgment in Police vs Claus-Peter Reisch (Appeal No. 150/2019).

The case was brought by Captain Reisch, who was arrested in 2018 following the rescue of 234 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea.  He was charged with two offences: entering Maltese waters without the necessary registration or licence; and using a vessel for commercial purposes without a licence. In the initial judgment, delivered in May 2019, he was found guilty of charge one and issued with a €10,000 fine.

The Court of Criminal Appeal noted, inter alia, that the Magistrates Court had failed to consider arguments presented regarding the complainants lack of criminal intent. Indeed, the Court concluded that the prosecution had failed to bring sufficient evidence to show criminal intent in relation to the navigating in Maltese waters without necessary and correct registration. As a result, the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed the ruling of the Magistrates Court.

Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team.

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