Court: French sect leader in new case against authorities

Valetta, Malta - The First Hall of the Constitutional Court will this morning start hearing a case which the French sect leader Alain Schmitt has filed against 12 defendants, including the Justice and Home Affairs Minister and the Attorney General among others, as well as a consultant psychiatrist and the prison superintendent.

The case follows an extradition order which the court of criminal appeal confirmed on 23 February against Schmitt, 49, and his partner, Laurence Liegeois, 42.

At a press conference yesterday, lawyer Emmy Bezzina who is appearing for Schmitt and Liegeois, said justice had not been done in criminal proceedings and Schmitt’s rights had been violated. He argued that Schmitt was 95 per cent disabled but the court had not granted him provisional liberty since 15 January.

Dr Bezzina acknowledged that Schmitt was getting 24-hour care at the Mount Carmel Forensic Unit “but this is still not adequate”, he said.

The service included a full-time nurse 24/7 and therefore four nurses rotated on a shift basis. He was also being taken to Mater Dei Hospital regularly to have his insulin levels checked and had a room on his own among other things.

Meanwhile, Laurence Liegeois yesterday left for France “because she could not take it any longer” Dr Bezzina said. Her son had left Malta for France with her consent due to security reasons, the lawyer added. She therefore withdrew a similar case to that of Schmitt which she filed before the Constitutional Court on 5 February to be with her son.

He added that their marriage application was still on and if the government got the necessary documents from France, the couple will get married by proxy – another woman from the group will represent Laurence Liegeois.

Dr Bezzina said Schmitt was suffering in prison while costing the state a lot of money but he was still not granted liberty.