The family of a man who formerly worked as a dockyard worker at Malta Drydocks have been awarded asbestos compensation totaling €12,000.
Emanuel Caruana was constantly exposed to asbestos on a daily basis while he worked at the docks.
Medical certificates attained at the time of his death proved that the asbestos exposure over the years had contributed to his ill health and eventual death.
Mr Caruana died in September 2005 with lung cancer after a 9 month struggle with the illness. He was 71 years old.
He left behind his wife and 4 children.
His family went onto sue the Chief Government Medical Officer and the Attorney General.
The medical evidence was used in court and medical specialists proved a direct link between the asbestos exposure and Mr Caruana developing mesothelioma.
It has been a well known and proven fact that asbestos exposure is directly linked to asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis since the 1960s, a fact that is recorded in the British Medical Journal.
The court heard how Mr Caruana had worked all his life at the Malta dockyard,.
Even though, according to a policy manager testifying in court on behalf of the docks, most of the asbestos at the docks was used in its harmless form, there was still a small amount of it present in its most dangerous form.
It was years later before the dangerous asbestos material was stripped out and shipped abroad to be disposed of in accordance with new legal procedures.
The judge ruling in the case, Mr Justice Mark Chetcuti, ruled in the families favour, and concluded that they had successfully proven that their relative had died as a result of continued exposure to asbestos as part of his job working at the Malta Drydocks.
He also said that the state was seriously at fault and had failed to protect Mr Caruana’s health and wellbeing.
Despite the state having been well aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure, they didn’t cohere with current legislation, neither did they warn the public about the dangers or carry out any risk assessments or take steps to protect anyone’s health.
All the evidence was taken into account, including the age of the deceased gentleman, who died 10 years after retirement.
The judge concluded that the protection of Mr Caruana’s right to life, as safeguarded under article 33 of the Constitution and article 2 of the European Convention, had been violated by the state.
The family were awarded an asbestos compensation payment of €12,000.
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