Court says LESA cannot enforce COVID quarantine rules

22/01/2022

This is a very interesting court ruling as a Man and woman have fines running into thousands of euro revoked.

Apparently these offences were not listed among offences community officers could enforce. It will be worth to find out what can happen if you ever had a fine for breaching the quarantine rules!

A magistrate has ruled that LESA cannot enforce quarantine regulations, in a case where he revoked hefty fines issued to two individuals.

Magistrate Victor Axiaq ruled that no local council, regional committee or agency for local enforcement has the power to enforce or bring proceedings against any person accused of breaching COVID-19 quarantine rules.

He was deciding on separate appeals filed by a man and a woman who were fined by officers from the Local Enforcement Systems Agency.

Peter Paul Micallef was slapped with a fine of €10,000 after he was caught breaching quarantine rules on October 30, 2020 at 1.15pm in Ta' Xbiex.

Pavla Stejskalova was fined €3,000 after failing to appear before the Commissioner for Justice over a fine issued by a LESA officer on November 16, 2020 in Kirkop, when she was alleged to have breached one or more of the conditions relating to quarantine.

The magistrate noted that although the quarantine regulations fell within the competence of the Commissioners for Justice, they were not listed among offences community officers could enforce.

"Given that such power is not expressly provided for in the law... then the Local Enforcement System Agency cannot bring forward proceedings and prosecute persons for a breach of the regulations in question," the magistrate said.

He, therefore, declared the proceedings against the two as null and void and cleared them of the charge.

LESA is among the agencies, including police, Malta Tourism Authority and Transport Authority, that hands out fines for breach of various COVID regulations, such as failure to wear masks or to respect social distancing rules.

It is not known how many fines LESA has imposed for breach of quarantine rules so far.