Search and seizure - national proceedings

Republic of Malta

Malta - Criminal Code 1854 (2014) EN

BOOK SECOND
LAWS OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PART I
OF THE AUTHORITIES TO WHICH THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS ENTRUSTED

Title I Of the Powers and Duties of the Executive Police in respect of Criminal Prosecutions

Sub-title I Power to Stop and Search

351. (1) A police officer may, in a public place, or in any place to which the public is admitted, even against payment of an entrance fee, search any person or vehicle, if he has a reasonable suspicion that the search will discover the possession of things, which are prohibited, stolen or acquired as the result of any offence whatsoever, or which may be used or may have been used in the commission of an offence or which may serve in the investigation of an offence.

(2) For the purposes of subarticle (1), the Police may stop a person or a vehicle until the search is performed and shall seize any thing discovered during the search and the possession of which is prohibited or which may be connected with an offence.

(3) Pursuant to and for the purposes of the Convention of the 19th June, 1990 implementing the Schengen Agreement of the 14th June, 1985 an offence under this article shall be deemed to be an offence even when committed outside Malta.


352. Where the search to be performed is required in an unattended vehicle and it is not possible to obtain the attendance of its registered owner, then a police officer may only carry out the search if he has a warrant from a superior officer not below the rank of an inspector.


353. Except in urgent cases and when a person is apprehended in flagrante delicto nothing in this Title authorises the search of a person by a police officer of the opposite sex, or that a search be conducted by a police officer not in uniform unless clearly identified by the production of a police identity card.


354. Anything seized as a result of a search under the preceding articles of this title shall be preserved and the Police carrying out the search shall draw up a report stating all the particulars of the search and including a detailed list of the things so seized.



BOOK SECOND
LAWS OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PART I
OF THE AUTHORITIES TO WHICH THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS ENTRUSTED

Title I Of the Powers and Duties of the Executive Police in respect of Criminal Prosecutions

Sub-title III POWERS OF ENTRY, SEARCH AND SEIZURE UNDER WARRANT

355E. (1) Saving the cases where the law provides otherwise, no police officer shall, without a warrant from a Magistrate, enter any premises, house, building or enclosure for the purpose of effecting any search therein or arresting any person who has committed or is reasonably suspected of having committed or of being about to commit any offence unless -

(a) the offence is a crime other than a crime punishable under the Press Act and there is imminent danger that the said person may escape or that the corpus delicti or the means of proving the offence will be suppressed; or

(b) the person is detected in the very act of committing a crime other than a crime punishable under the Press Act; or

(c) the intervention of the Police is necessary in order to prevent the commission of a crime other than a crime punishable under the Press Act; or

(d) the entry is necessary for the execution of any warrant or order issued by any other competent authority in the cases prescribed by law; or

(e) the arrest is for the purpose of apprehending a person who is unlawfully at large after escaping from lawful arrest or detention; or

(f) the entry is necessary for purposes of:
(i) executing the arrest, or ascertaining the whereabouts, of a person in respect of whom an alert has been entered in the Schengen Information System and there is an imminent danger that the said person may escape; or
(ii) discovering any property in respect of which an alert has been entered in the Schengen
Information System and there is an imminent danger that the property may be concealed, lost, damaged, altered or destroyed.

(2) The expression "enclosure" does not include any plot of land enclosed by rubble walls.

(3) A warrant may also be issued by a Magistrate as mentioned in subarticle (1) for the purpose of:
(a) effecting the arrest or ascertaining the whereabouts of a person in respect of whom an alert has been entered in the Schengen Information System; or
(b) discovering and seizing any property in respect of which an alert has been entered in the Schengen Information System.


355F. In cases where a police officer is empowered to enter into any of the places mentioned in the last preceding article, it shall be lawful for such officer to open or break any door or window, if, after giving notice of his office and object, he cannot otherwise obtain entry.


355G. (1) Any entry and search warrant issued under this Sub¬title and any search or seizure made under the provisions of this Sub-title shall not extend to legal privilege or to any excluded material.

(2) An entry and search warrant issued under this Sub-title shall be deemed to have been granted to the police officer or officers executing it.

(3) Without prejudice to the right of obtaining a new warrant for the same purpose, an entry and search warrant may not be executed after the lapse of one month from the date of issue.


355H. No warrant of entry and search may be executed after sunset unless the Magistrate has otherwise authorised in the warrant, or unless the executing Police officer has reasonable cause to believe that the purpose of the entry and search will be frustrated if the execution of the warrant is delayed.


355I. The executing officer shall hand over a copy of the warrant to the person occupying and present at the place searched or to any other person who appears to the said officer to be in charge of the same place and who happens to be present during the search. If there is no person present who appears to the executing officer to be in charge of the premises the copy of the warrant shall be left in an easily visible place on the premises.


355J. A search under a warrant may only be a search to the extent required for the purpose for which the warrant was issued:
Provided that if, in the course of the search, offences other than the offence or offences mentioned in the warrant are discovered, the search may extend to the extent required for the purposes of such other offences.

BOOK SECOND
LAWS OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PART I
OF THE AUTHORITIES TO WHICH THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS ENTRUSTED

Title I Of the Powers and Duties of the Executive Police in respect of Criminal Prosecutions

Sub-title V
SEIZURE AND RETENTION

355P. The Police, when lawfully on any premises, may seize anything which is on the premises if they have reasonable grounds for believing that it has been obtained in consequence of the commission of an offence or that it is evidence in relation to an offence or it is the subject of an alert in the Schengen Information System and that it is necessary to seize it to prevent it being concealed, lost, damaged, altered or destroyed.


355Q. The Police may, in addition to the power of seizing a computer machine, require any information which is contained in a computer to be delivered in a form in which it can be taken away and in which it is visible and legible.


355R. The Police shall always issue to the person on the premises or in control of the thing seized a receipt for anything seized and on request by any such person, the Police shall, against payment and within a reasonable time, supply to him photographs, or a film, video recording or electronic image or copies of the thing seized, unless the investigating officer has reasonable grounds for believing that this would be prejudicial to the investigation or to any criminal proceedings that may be instituted as a result thereof.


355S. (1) Anything which has been lawfully seized by the Police may be retained so long as is necessary in all the circumstances.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the aforesaid, anything lawfully seized by the Police under this Code may be retained for use as evidence at the trial or for forensic examination or any other aspect of the investigation, or in order to establish the thing’s lawful owner.

(3) The Commissioner shall provide for the proper custody of anything seized.


355T. A person who is the rightful owner of a thing seized and retained may, unless criminal proceedings in the course of which the thing seized has been exhibited or is to be exhibited are pending before any court, make an application to a Magistrate for its restitution, and the Magistrate may, after hearing the Police, by a decree order its release either unconditionally, or under such conditions as may be necessary to preserve the evidential aspects of the thing.


355U. Unless a thing is liable to forfeiture, nothing shall be retained if a photograph, film, video recording or electronic image or a copy of the thing would be sufficient:
Provided that before releasing the thing the Police may, where they deem so necessary, apply to a Magistrate for a repertus to be drawn up and the provisions of Title II of Part II of Book Second of this Code shall apply.

Rome Statute

Article 93 Other forms of cooperation

1. States Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Part and under procedures of national law, comply with requests by the Court to provide the following assistance in relation to investigations or prosecutions:

(h) The execution of searches and seizures;