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CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALTA

(excerpts)

 

34. (1) No person shall be deprived of his personal liberty
save as may be authorised by law in the following cases, that is to
say -
(a) in consequence of his unfitness to plead to a criminal
charge;
(b) in execution of the sentence or order of a court,
whether in Malta or elsewhere, in respect of a criminal
offence of which he has been convicted;
(c) in execution of the order of a court punishing him for
contempt of that court or of another court or tribunal
or in execution of the order of the House of
Representatives punishing him for contempt of itself
or of its members or for breach of privilege;
(d) in execution of the order of a court made to secure the
fulfilment of any obligation imposed on him by law;
(e) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in
execution of the order of a court or before the House of
Representatives in execution of the order of that
House;
(f) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or
being about to commit, a criminal offence;
(g) in the case of a person who has not attained the age of
eighteen years, for the purpose of his education or
welfare;
(h) for the purpose of preventing the spread of an
infectious or contagious disease;
(i) in the case of a person who is, or is reasonably
suspected to be, of unsound mind, addicted to drugs or
alcohol, or a vagrant, for the purpose of his care or
treatment or the protection of the community; or
(j) for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of that
person into Malta, or for the purpose of effecting the
expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal of that
person from Malta or the taking of proceedings
relating thereto or for the purpose of restraining that
person while he is being conveyed through Malta in
the course of his extradition or removal as a convicted
prisoner from one country to another.
(2) Any person who is arrested or detained shall be informed at
the time of his arrest or detention, in a language that he
understands, of the reasons for his arrest or detention:
Provided that if an interpreter is necessary and is not readily
available or if it is otherwise impracticable to comply with the
provisions of this sub-article at the time of the person’s arrest or
detention, such provisions shall be complied with as soon as
practicable.
(3) Any person who is arrested or detained -
(a) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in
execution of the order of a court; or
(b) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or
being about to commit, a criminal offence,
and who is not released, shall be brought not later than forty-eight
hours before a court; and if any person arrested or detained in such
a case as is mentioned in paragraph (b) of this sub-article is not
tried within a reasonable time, then, without prejudice to any
further proceedings which may be brought against him, he shall be
released either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions,
including in particular such conditions as are reasonably necessary
to ensure that he appears at a later date for trial or for proceedings
preliminary to trial.
(4) Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained by any
other person shall be entitled to compensation therefor from that
person.
(5) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law
shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this
article to the extent that the law in question authorises the taking
during such a period of public emergency as is referred to in
paragraph (a) or (c) of sub-article (2) of article 47 of this
Constitution of measures that are reasonably justifiable for the
purpose of dealing with the situation that exists during that period
of public emergency.
(6) If any person who is lawfully detained by virtue only of
such a law as is referred to in the last foregoing sub-article so
requests at any time during the period of that detention not earlier
than six months after he last made such a request during that
period, his case shall be reviewed by an independent and impartial
tribunal established by law and composed of a person or persons
each of whom holds or has held judicial office or is qualified to be
appointed to such office in Malta.
(7) On any review by a tribunal in pursuance of the last
foregoing sub-article of the case of any detained person, the
tribunal may make recommendations concerning the necessity or
expediency of continuing his detention to the authority by whom it
was ordered, but, unless it is otherwise provided by law, that
authority shall not be obliged to act in accordance with any such
recommendations.

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36. (1) No person shall be subjected to inhuman or degrading
punishment or treatment.
(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law
shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this
article to the extent that the law in question authorises the infliction
of any description of punishment which was lawful in Malta
immediately before the appointed day.
(3) (a) No law shall provide for the imposition of collective
punishments.
(b) Nothing in this sub-article shall preclude the imposition of
collective punishments upon the members of a disciplined force in
accordance with the law regulating the discipline of that force.

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39. (1) Whenever any person is charged with a criminal
offence he shall, unless the charge is withdrawn, be afforded a fair
hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial
court established by law.
(2) Any court or other adjudicating authority prescribed by law
for the determination of the existence or the extent of civil rights or
obligations shall be independent and impartial; and where
proceedings for such a determination are instituted by any person
before such a court or other adjudicating authority, the case shall be
given a fair hearing within a reasonable time.
(3) Except with the agreement of all the parties thereto, all
proceedings of every court and proceedings relating to the
determination of the existence or the extent of a person’s civil
rights or obligations before any other adjudicating authority,
including the announcement of the decision of the court or other
authority, shall be held in public.
(4) Nothing in sub-article (3) of this article shall prevent any
court or any authority such as is mentioned in that sub-article from
excluding from the proceedings persons other than the parties
thereto and their legal representatives -
(a) in proceedings before a court of voluntary jurisdiction
and other proceedings which, in the practice of the
Courts in Malta are, or are of the same nature as those
which are, disposed of in chambers;
(b) in proceedings under any law relating to income tax;
or
(c) to such extent as the court or other authority -
(i) may consider necessary or expedient in
circumstances where publicity would prejudice
the interests of justice; or
(ii) may be empowered or required by law to do so
in the interests of defence, public safety, public
order, public morality or decency, the welfare of
persons under the age of eighteen years or the
protection of the private lives of persons
concerned in the proceedings.
(5) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall
be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty:
Provided that nothing contained in or done under the
authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in
contravention of this sub-article to the extent that the law in
question imposes upon any person charged as aforesaid the burden
of proving particular facts.
(6) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence -
(a) shall be informed in writing, in a language which he
understands and in detail, of the nature of the offence
charged;
(b) shall be given adequate time and facilities for the
preparation of his defence;
(c) shall be permitted to defend himself in person or by a
legal representative and a person who cannot afford to
pay for such legal representation as is reasonably
required by the circumstances of his case shall be
entitled to have such representation at the public
expense;
(d) shall be afforded facilities to examine in person or by
his legal representative the witnesses called by the
prosecution before any court and to obtain the
attendance of witnesses subject to the payment of their
reasonable expenses, and carry out the examination of
witnesses to testify on his behalf before the court on
the same conditions as those applying to witnesses
called by the prosecution; and
(e) shall be permitted to have without payment the
assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand the
language used at the trial of the charge,
and except with his own consent the trial shall not take place in his
absence unless he so conducts himself as to render the continuance
of the proceedings in his presence impracticable and the court has
ordered him to be removed and the trial to proceed in his absence.
(7) When a person is tried for any criminal offence, the accused
person or any person authorised by him in that behalf shall, if he so
requires and subject to payment of such reasonable fee as may be
prescribed by law, be given within a reasonable time after judgment
a copy for the use of the accused person of any record of the
proceedings made by or on behalf of the court.
(8) No person shall be held to be guilty of a criminal offence on
account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took
place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed
for any criminal offence which is severer in degree or description
than the maximum penalty which might have been imposed for that
offence at the time when it was committed.
(9) No person who shows that he has been tried by any
competent court for a criminal offence and either convicted or
acquitted shall again be tried for that offence or for any other
criminal offence of which he could have been convicted at the trial
for that offence save upon the order of a superior court made in the
course of appeal or review proceedings relating to the conviction or
acquittal; and no person shall be tried for a criminal offence if he
shows that he has been pardoned for that offence:
Provided that nothing in any law shall be held to be
inconsistent with or in contravention of this sub-article by reason
only that it authorises any court to try a member of a disciplined
force for a criminal offence notwithstanding any trial and
conviction or acquittal of that member under the disciplinary law of
that force, so however that any court so trying such a member and
convicting him shall in sentencing him to any punishment take into
account any punishment awarded him under that disciplinary law.
(10) No person who is tried for a criminal offence shall be
compelled to give evidence at his trial.
(11) In this article "legal representative" means a person
entitled to practise in Malta as an advocate or, except in relation to
proceedings before a court where a legal procurator has no right of
audience, a legal procurator.

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