Updated | Man arrested on suspicion of illegal hunting

Ryan Bonnici pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the shooting of a protected species 

The man was arrested by the ALE section of the police
The man was arrested by the ALE section of the police

A 32-year-old man from Msida was arrested on Thursday evening over suspicion of illegal hunting, the police said.

Officers from the Administrative Law Enforcement unit arrested Ryan Bonnici after receiving reports of shots being heard in the Żebbiegħ area. The man is suspected of having been targeting a Black Stork, which is a protected species.

Police were also alerted to a vehicle in the area that could have belonged to the hunter in question.

The vehicle was stopped and searched in Għargħur with police officers discovering a loaded, modified firearm hidden in a compartment behind a seat. A later search of the man’s home returned another firearm and other items of interest.

The man was taken into custody and arraigned before Magistrate Victor Axiaq on Friday, pleading not guilty to related charges.

Prosecuting Inspector Elliott Magro objected to Bonnici's request for bail, pointing out that the accused was a relapser, with nine previous convictions for illegal hunting and had been caught whilst in possession of a modified firearm.

After hearing submissions on bail the court upheld the request for bail against a deposit of €1,000, a personal guarantee of €10,000 and an order to sign a bail book once a week.
Bonnici was also banned from hunting and his firearm and vehicle were confiscated.
Lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace was defence counsel.