A local judge has called for the use of electronic tags in Malta’s criminal justice system in cases concerning bail. Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera said that the courts should be allowed to order an accused person to be electronically tagged when given bail decree.
She wrote in a judgment passed last week saying that if this sort of system existed in our country, ‘the state would be in a better position to monitor people accused of crimes who have been granted bail.’
She went on to order that a copy of the judgment be sent to Justice Minister Jonathan Attard and Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri in hopes that the law be scrutinised to reflect modern-day needs.
Electronic tags remotely and automatically transmit their GPS location to law enforcement, which allows authorities to keep track of the person wearing it.
The plans to introduce tags into local criminal justice procedures were revealed in September 2021, but the draft bill was not passed into law by the time parliament was dissolved prior to the election.
The bill will thus have to be reintroduced from scratch once parliament is opened. Minister Camilleri said that only those guilty of minor crimes, prisoners granted parole and inmates on prison leave would be eligible for the tag.
Judges will thus not be allowed to order their use when granting bail, a practice which takes place in many other countries that use electronic tags.