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Maltese hunters found guilty of threatening British bird protection volunteer

Two Maltese hunters have been found guilty at the Valletta law courts of threatening 26 year old Fiona Burrows from Nottingham, a bird guard volunteering with International Animal Rescue and CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter). The hunters were also found guilty of breaching the peace. Both hunters were conditionally discharged for 18 months and ordered not to approach Ms Burrows for a set period of time, subject to a fine.

The two hunters were reported to the police after an incident which took place during a search for dead protected bird species at the Mizieb woodland, carried out by CABS, IAR and Birdlife Malta on 20 September last year. The search is usually carried out when there is no migration taking place. During the search Fiona Burrows was approached by the two men, they started shouting and screaming at her, then grabbed and shook her. They also attempted to snatch the remains of some dead protected species which had been found by Ms Burrows.

Commenting on the sentence, Max Farrugia said that the Magistrate who heard the case was very lenient in his decision owing to the fact that Ms Burrows is unlikely to be approached because she lives in the UK. He added that such a decision would not discourage the CABS and IAR members from continuing to run the camps in Malta but might be very demotivating to the police force who had done their job by prosecuting these individuals.

During the last two camps more than 280 dead birds throughout the Mizieb woodland were found hidden by the CABS/IAR and Birdlife Malta teams of volunteers. The remains of these birds, some of which had been recently shot and others which were in a bad state of decomposition, were handed over to MEPA, the agency responsible for the environment and the police. The conservation organisations called on the Malta Government to conduct an investigation, but so far no official report on these findings had been made public.