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Member of Maltese hunting federation guilty of assault

A council member of the Maltese Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK) has been fined €100 for attempting to use force and swearing in public during an argument with a German bird guard.

David Briffa, 48, of Siggiewi was, however, cleared of hitting Alex Hirschfeld, media officer of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) in the incident which was caught on video on 20 September.

The assault took place just before a joint press conference by CABS and BirdLife Malta to protest against the lack of police investigations into bird killings in Miżieb. CABS and BirdLife said they had found over 80 dead protected birds during a search of the woodland.

Mr Hirschfeld testified before Magistrate Anthony Vella that he had been hit on his left cheek by a "very angry" Mr Briffa, who also swore at him.

He said the incident occurred when team members gathered at the car park in Miżieb after their search and he saw Mr Briffa arguing with a member of BirdLife. Mr Briffa was angry because he claimed the search had not been carried out in the presence of the police. However, police officers were present, as were foreign journalists, the witness said.

Defence lawyers Emmanuel Mallia and Arthur Azzopardi said they would be appealing against the sentence.