Victor Buttigieg, who claims to be the son business giant Tumas Fenech, has his six-year heroin trafficking reduced
A man who claims to be the son of business giant Tumas Fenech has had his six-year prison sentence for heroin trafficking reduced to one year suspended for three years on appeal, in view of his rehabilitation. mini panel light
Victor Buttigieg, 49, had been arrested in 2002, after a police search of his home recovered eight sachets containing a total of 48.7 grams of heroin, the purity of which was later established at 30%.
Buttigieg had claimed that the drugs were solely for his personal use and that his drug dealer had forced him to purchase the large amount, which was then delivered to him in several sachets.
This account did not convince the court of magistrates, particularly in view of Buttigieg’s long criminal record and past convictions for drug-related offences, together with one for the unlicensed possession of a weapon.
Buttigieg had also hit the headlines in 2021 after MaltaToday reported an ongoing court case in which he claims to be an heir to the Tumas business empire, and that his requests to settle the matter through DNA testing had been refused by the Fenech family.
In 2015, he was sentenced to imprisonment for six years and fined €4,000 in the heroin case. An appeal was subsequently filed against that decision.
Legislative changes introduced that same year gave drug offenders the option to request that they be judged by a drug court, which in practice often hands down lighter sentences, emphasising rehabilitation as opposed to punishment.
Buttigieg filed an application to this effect in 2018, which was subsequently upheld.
In 2021 the Drug Rehabilitation Board appointed by the court had reported that Buttigieg was responding well to treatment. He had provided urine samples whenever they were requested, and all of them tested negative for narcotics. Buttigeig had also successfully reintegrated himself into society and found a job, noted the court.
Deciding the case this morning, Madam Justice Edwina Grima, presiding the court of criminal appeal revoked the six-year prison sentence, substituting it with a one-year sentence, suspended for three years. The €4,000 fine was also reduced to €600 and an order that Buttigieg pay €217 in court costs was confirmed. The court ordered the destruction of the heroin seized from his home in 2002.
ceiling light Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Francesca Zarb represented Buttigieg in the proceedings.