Illegal trapper's fine reduced on appeal

The man had been accused of attempting to trap birds during the closed season, without a license, trapping a protected species and using prohibited trapping equipment

A bird trapper who committed a number of illegalities has had his fine reduced on appeal.

Lawrence Darmanin was accused of attempting to trap birds during the closed season, without a licence, trapping a protected species and using prohibited trapping equipment in 2015.

In 2016 the court of Magistrates had found him guilty and condemned him to a fine of €1,500 and suspended him from holding a hunting licence for two years.

Darmanin had appealed, arguing that the punishment was excessive, although conceding that he was guilty.

He also pointed out that the judgment was not signed by the registrar or magistrate in the manner required by law.

Darmanin had denied trapping, saying he was slaughtering some chickens that day in a site far away from that specified in the charges. He had taken out some caged songbirds with him “for some air”. He confirmed that he had left his trapping net set up but said this was an oversight.

The court noted that effectively, the man had a net set up, surrounded by caged songbirds during the closed season. It said it had no reason not to believe that the man was, in fact, trapping at the time of his arrest, even if he had been in a nearby room doing something else at that precise moment.

It also observed that the man had asked the court to confirm the finding of guilt but to reform the sentence.

The area specified in the charges was vast and was adjacent to the area in which he was found. This was not a case of a wrong road being specified, noted the court.

The court, having heard submissions on the punishment, reduced his fine to €1,000 but confirmed the rest of his punishment. As the nets were not exhibited, the court said it would not be ordering their confiscation.A bird trapper who committed a number of illegalities has had his fine reduced on appeal.

Lawrence Darmanin was accused of attempting to trap birds during the closed season, without a licence, trapping a protected species and using prohibited trapping equipment in 2015.

In 2016 the court of Magistrates had found him guilty and condemned him to a fine of €1,500 and suspended him from holding a hunting licence for two years.

Darmanin had appealed, arguing that the punishment was excessive, although conceding that he was guilty.

He also pointed out that the judgement was not signed by the registrar or magistrate in the manner required by law.

Darmanin had denied trapping, saying he was slaughtering some chickens that day in a site far away from that specified in the charges. He had taken out some caged songbirds with him “for some air”. He confirmed that he had left his trapping net set up but said this was an oversight.

The court noted that effectively, the man had a net set up, surrounded by caged songbirds during the closed season. It said it had no reason not to believe that the man was, in fact, trapping at the time of his arrest, even if he had been in a nearby room doing something else at that precise moment.

It also observed that the man had asked the court to confirm the finding of guilt but to reform the sentence.

The area specified in the charges was vast and was adjacent to the area in which he was found. This was not a case of a wrong road being specified, noted the court.

The court, having heard submissions on the punishment, reduced his fine to €1,000 but confirmed the rest of his punishment. As the nets were not exhibited, the court said it would not be ordering their confiscation.

Inspector Jurgen Vella prosecuted.

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