Police officer caught hunting illegally in Malta
It has been revealed that one of two men caught on film hunting illegally in Malta and subsequently arrested by the Administrative Law Enforcement Police is a police officer. The incident took place on the island of Gozo. This has been unofficially confirmed to International Animal Rescue by reliable police sources. The young police constable is the son of a Police Sergeant and joined the police corps less than two years ago.
The illegal hunters were filmed by a bird watcher taking part in a bird protection camp which ended last week. Police sources said that the foreign birdwatcher had no idea that the man in the balaclava was a policeman.
The constable, who was brought before the court in Gozo, is PC 555 Fabio Schembri. This is not the first time that Schembri has been caught hunting illegally but in previous instances he has been acquitted. Sources within the police corps commented that, after the court case, the officer will also have to face an internal police inquiry and appear before a disciplinary board to decide on his future in the force.
A bird guard camp organised jointly by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter and International Animal Rescue is currently underway in Malta. Only yesterday, whilst following a flock of harriers that were about to roost at a Mellie_a woodland, members of the group spotted and gave chase to a number of poachers. As they closed in on them, the poachers fired gunshots into the air. In light of this it was agreed to abandon the chase which allowed the poachers to vanish into the wood. The police were informed of the incident.
On more than one occasion various factions have tried to escalate this issue as part of the the election campaign for MEPs. However the two major political parties in Malta are conscious that the hunting lobby is very angry at the current ban on spring hunting and so they are trying to steer clear of the issue until the EU court makes a decision.
The EU court will start hearing the case against the Malta Government next month.