Updated | Police, government seek effective prison term against hunter convicted of shooting White Stork

26-year-old hunter fined €5,000, handed suspended prison term after admitting to shooting protected White Stork • Police, government say case warrants effective prison term

Giljan Tanti was banned for life from hunting after shooting dead a White Stork. Photo: Facebook]
Giljan Tanti was banned for life from hunting after shooting dead a White Stork. Photo: Facebook]
The dead stork found in the field.
The dead stork found in the field.

Giljan Tanti, a 26-year-old tile layer from St Julian’s was this afternoon handed a three-month prison term suspended for one year and fined €5,000 after pleading guilty to shooting a killing a protected White Stork.

However, following the court’s decree, the police announced that it would file an appeal before the Attorney General and seek an effective prison term – rather than a suspended sentence.

The police’s calls for a harsher sentence were also echoed by the government, which in a statement this evening “backed an appeal seeking an effective prison term.”

“The government welcomes the police’s appeal, since the police themselves feel that the crime warrants an effective prison term,” it said.

While condemning “any cases of illegal hunting,” the government also said that it is against anyone convicted of such crimes.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at around 7:30pm, when at least ten White Storks were seen resting atop the roof of St Vincent de Paule before the accused, who was hiding in a field behind the Edible Oil Refinery Company factory in Marsa, shot and killed one of the Storks.

Three off-duty police officers who were nearby heard the shots being fired and saw one of the birds going down. The officers spotted the young man, who upon seeing the police fled the scene,

The man was however, quickly apprehended and handed over to officers from the Administrative Law Enforcement Unit. The man's shotgun and the bird were also seized by police.

Standing before duty Magistrate Doreen Clarke this afternoon, the accused also admitted to killing a protected bird, to carrying a loaded gun, to firing it in a residential area and to using equipment to mimic bird sounds.

Magistrate Doreen Clarke handed Tanti a three-month jail term suspended for one year and fined him €5,000. The court also ordered the confiscation of the shotgun and banned the accused from hunting.

The court also banned the accused from carrying a gun for five years and ordered him to pay the fine within a year.

Lawyer Gianella de Marco represented the accused while Inspector Jurgen Vella and Senior Inspector Mario Tonna prosecuted.