Updated | Students plead guilty to damaging historic gunpost while camping at Majjistral Park

Four French students receive suspended sentences, fines for damaging a historic gunpost at Majjistral Park when they set up camp there

Four French students on holiday in Malta have been sentenced after pleading guilty to damaging a historic gunpost at Majjistral Park when they set up camp there.

Fanny Florence Marie Thibault, aged 21, Margaux Camille Averseng, 21, Lea Mathide Pages, 22, and Sarah Jeanne Melody Morand-Schmitz, 20, pleaded guilty to charges of negligently causing damage to cultural property, criminal damage, uprooting a protected species of plant, camping in the park and starting a campfire without the authorisation of the park manager.

The incident happened at Ras Il-Waħx in Mellieħa, which is part of the Majjistral Nature and History Park.

The police were called after park rangers came across the group at around 8am on Wednesday 8 September after the group started the fire on the clifftop British military defence post.

In court today, the women confirmed their guilty pleas after being given time to reconsider.

Inspector Christina Delia told the court that the four had cooperated with the police and that they had not been aware that what they were doing was illegal.

The inspector said that the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage had informed her that the damage caused was minimal and suggested a suspended sentence.

Lawyer Martha Mifsud, appointed as legal aid counsel to the four, said that the young women had learned their lesson. “They are young; they came here and made a bonfire to roast marshmallows. They were stupid enough to cause this damage.”

In a sentence handed down later in the afternoon, the court handed the guilty parties sentences of 6 months, suspended for 1 year. They were also fined €700 each.