A week to inspect for ‘public health emergency’, court upholds injunction

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Former Paloma Hotel will not be sealed off after a Court upheld a warrant of prohibitory injunction.

Police raid at Paloma Hotel: ‘A PR stunt at dawn’

Mr Justice Francesco Depasquale noted that the landlord was not notified within a reasonable timeframe about the health authorities’ decision when handing down his decision on Tuesday.

The health authorities accompanied by the police carried out a raid at dawn on August 26. The landlord was notified on the same day at 11.40am; however, the complaint was filed on August 19.

“While public health is important, the court cannot but observe that the authorities did not deem the situation urgent enough to seal the place the day it was notified,” the Court observed.

Mr Justice Depasquale said that while the Court understands that public health is very important and timely action can save lives, the authorities took time to act on the report.

Lawyer Edward Gatt yesterday presented a report in court which showed that landlord Christopher Drago started remedial works on the premises.

“They committed no crime; they were too poor to afford decent accommodation”

The court heard how a decision to seal off the premises would have detrimental effects on the tenants. Dubbing the action as a “PR stunt”, Gatt questioned the proportionality of the force used in inspection.

Court upholds warrant preventing closure of Paloma Hotel

For the landlord’s right to property to be protected, the landlord has to carry out the necessary works within a short timeframe, the court explained. Lawyer Edward Gatt presented an architect’s report on Monday on the works already carried out, while the health authorities prepared their report which they presented in their reply to the court. Adding that this right is protected as long as it does not pose a threat to public health, the court added.

Lawyer Ismael Psaila appeared for landlord Christopher Drago who is appearing on behalf of Bodishtianu Evgueni Ivanoch.

Lawyer Dustin Camilleri appeared for the health authorities.