Marsascala Man Charged with Illegal Hunting of Protected Bird Species

Unemployed Maltese man arraigned for illegally hunting a protected marsh harrier, highlighting the persistent issue of poaching in the country and the need for stricter enforcement.

Trim Correspondents
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Marsascala Man Charged with Illegal Hunting of Protected Bird Species

Marsascala Man Charged with Illegal Hunting of Protected Bird Species

Kinsley Ellul, a 25-year-old unemployed resident of Marsascala, was arraigned in court on Thursday on charges related to the illegal hunting of a protected marsh harrier. Police arrested Ellul after receiving a report of a hunter targeting roosting harriers at tas-Silġ, Delimara on Wednesday evening.

An eyewitness filmed the hunter's movements and alerted the police to the illegal activity. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Ellul in possession of a shot marsh harrier and two loaded firearms in his car. A subsequent search of his residence uncovered a fourth shotgun.

Ellul pleaded not guilty to a string of 13 charges, including hunting during the closed season and breaching various hunting regulations. The prosecution argued that Ellul had an 'addiction' to hunting and might continue the illegal activity even after being disqualified. His lawyer countered that Ellul was passionate about hunting but did not have an addiction, and had an untainted criminal record.

Why this matters: The illegal hunting of protected bird species remains a persistent issue in Malta, threatening the survival of vulnerable populations. Strict enforcement of hunting regulations and penalties for offenders are crucial to deterring this criminal activity and preserving biodiversity.

Magistrate Anne Marie Thake granted bail under several conditions, including signing in at the Żabbar Police Station three times a week and depositing €500 with a personal guarantee of €4,000. The court warned Ellul that his hunting license had been suspended and he would face a lifetime ban if caught hunting again. Police described Ellul as being 'obsessed' with hunting, underscoring the severity of the offense.

Key Takeaways

  • 25-year-old Kinsley Ellul arraigned for illegally hunting protected marsh harrier
  • Eyewitness filmed Ellul and alerted police, who found him with shot bird and guns
  • Ellul pleaded not guilty to 13 charges, including hunting in closed season
  • Magistrate granted bail with conditions, suspended Ellul's hunting license
  • Illegal hunting of protected species remains a persistent issue in Malta