What on Earth Next: Malta Gets a Prosecuted Pirate and the Right to a Lawyer

2010 saw momentous legal upheaval in Malta. A judgment by a Maltese Magistrates’ Court on 30 September 2010 for the first time there convicted a seller of computer hardware with distributing pirated Microsoft software. The guilty party received a large fine and two years probation. Computer hardware and other related apparatus seized by the Police during their investigations was confiscated. The Business Software Alliance (BSA), global representative of the software industry, welcomed the judgment as ‘a very important step in the fight against software copyright theft’ in Malta. The judgement is ‘proof that Malta is making great efforts to combat the escalating problem of piracy on the island’ according to Georg Herrnleben, BSA Director. In 2010, too, suspects in Malta were granted the marvellous novelty of a lawyer during police questioning. The right, long common to most in the civilised world, had for years languished in the Criminal Code articles 355AT, 355AU, 255AZ and sub-articles 2, 3 and 4 of article 355AX of article 74. What with all that and the emergence of a prosecuted pirate the island’s reputation as a Mecca for digital forensics experts may be about to take wing.

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