If you are a regular reader of my ‘letters from America” you will recall the warning I gave you about traveling abroad, and the story of British visitor Tristan Haynes to the island of Malta.
Tristan Haynes, 42, looks set to spend Christmas behind foreign bars after a seven-year long legal battle during which he has maintained his innocence.
His family thought he would be home by November after being locked up in a Maltese prison for more than six months.
Tristan who’s wife Ramona and daughter Ricarda reside in the British town of Bedford, faces a longer wait and his frustration has led him to write letters of appeal, including recent correspondence to the British High Commission in Malta.
I spoke with him by phone in prison on Saturday, and Tristan told me how devastated he is with the realization that he will remain there until early next year.
He told me that “In two years, I have only seen my wife and daughter for a few days and the last time I saw them was September last year.
You may recall in my previous article I mentioned that he was sentenced to four years imprisonment in January this year.
It all began back in 2003 when Tristan, his then pregnant fiancé, together with his grandmother-in-law were involved in a skirmish when his car was hit by another vehicle in Bahar ic-Caghaq, Malta.
Tristan according to his family, was then attacked by two men, one of whom tried to hit him with a rock.
During the incident another man, who suffers from severe epilepsy, fell to the ground and was later taken to hospital.
But it was Tristan who was arrested and thrown into prison for three months.
Then followed his release on bail and a three year saga that saw Tristan, with Ramona and baby Ricarda, frustrated by the never ending legal process escaping aboard a hired yacht to Sicily, and back to his home in Bedford England with the help I might mention of the British consulate in Europe and eventually his final extradition back to Malta and sentence and imprisonment.
He appealed and in July a Maltese court reduced his initial 4 year sentence to three years.
He has been given an official release date of February 19, 2011, but because he had at least six months of his sentence left to serve, he applied for a transfer to this country so as to be able to spend Christmas with his family..
His request was ignored and it now appears he will spend Christmas looking out of his cell at the bleak prison landscape.
“Tristan should be out but the paperwork still hasn’t be sorted. My daughter Ricarda is already crying knowing her father is not able to come to her Christmas play.” Ramona told me.