Jailed hunters to face compilation of evidence over Valletta protest

Hunters yet to be arraigned over Buskett attack after victims fail to identify perpetrators.

The accused were denied bail in previous court proceedings
The accused were denied bail in previous court proceedings

Ten hunters who were denied bail and jailed, albeit temporarily, after being charged with their involvement in the illegal protest held on Independence Day in Valletta, will be back in court to hear their compilation of evidence.

Last week, nine hunters, all men, whose age ranged from 19 to 44, were charged with forming part of an illegal protest during which they showed disrespect to the government, with conspiring with others to commit a crime and break the law, and with insulting the Prime Minister and the government of Malta.

Two of the men were charged with the possession of an imitation shotgun, three were charged with hurling stones, while another two hunters were charged with assaulting three journalists.

Sources told MaltaToday that the hunters will appear in court on Thursday 2 October before Magistrate Anthony Vella. On the other hand, Christian Aquilina, a 26-year-old man who is being charged with “instigating others to commit a crime” by posting a Facebook post about the protest, will appear in court a day later, also before Magistrate Anthony Vella.

The other nine hunters: Arnold Farrugia, 21, of Dingli; Brian Grech, 21, of Rabat; David Spagnol, 44, of Marsascala; Gabriel Farrugia, 19, of Mosta; Krist Callus, 23, of Zurrieq; Alan Mizzi, 22, of Zebbug, Gozo; Simon Camilleri, 26, of Zabbar; Oliver Borg, 42, of Marsascala; and Josmar Buhagiar, 28, of Zabbar; are pleading not guilty to forming part of an illegal protest during which they disrespected the government, to conspiring to commit a crime, to inciting others to break the law, and to insulting the prime minister.

The hunters were arraigned after they allegedly took part in an illegal protest at City Gate on 21 September. Sometime later, a group of 30 hunters attacked 13 BirdLife birdwatchers.

However, sources close to the investigation said that for the time being, the police will not arraign any hunters involved in the Buskett attack because “no one has been identified yet.” Nevertheless, the police have insisted that investigations are ongoing, and also said that two of the hunters who were charged with the Valletta protest were allegedly involved in the Buskett assault.

Sources said that the police are currently investigating CCTV footage and are expected to charge hunters with attacking BirdLife officials. Moreover, informed sources said the men who have been arraigned were the “masterminds and the trouble makers” of the protest, and that others will be also be charged.