[WATCH] Trapper fined €20 after abusing BirdLife volunteer who filed police report

As two ALE police officers were inspecting the property, trapper approached BirdLife volunteer and started shouting verbal abuse, at one point even threatening to kill her

BirdLife Malta conservation officer verbally abused by trapper at Marfa Ridge

A trapper has been fined a meagre €20 after being arraigned in court in relation to an episode of reporting illegal finch trapping which happened a few months ago.

On 7 November 2019, BirdLife Malta conservation officer Alice Tribe came across an incident of illegal finch trapping at Marfa Ridge. She called the police who turned up on site following the report.

While the two ALE police officers were inspecting the property, trapper Mario Debono approached Tribe and started shouting verbal abuse, at one point even threatening to kill her. All this was recorded on video.

Following the incident, BirdLife Malta filed a report regarding the verbal abuse at Mellieħa Police Station. Another report was filed with the ALE regarding illegal trapping for a protected species. All the video evidence was handed over to police.

The trapper involved admitted in court to the charges of verbal abuse brought against him but the police did not even request that the video evidence be played in court. Following a very short session in front of Magistrate Charmaine Galea, he was fined €20.

The ALE are now expected to press separate charges for illegal trapping. Finch trapping is illegal even though there is a derogation allowing the trapping of Golden Plover and Song Thrush.

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