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Two Maltese hunters jailed for bribing police officer

Two Maltese hunters have been jailed for 18 months after admitting they had bribed a policeman who would tip them off about illegal hunting raids in exchange for gifts such as supermarket vouchers and a mobile phone.

A third man was also arraigned but he is contesting the charges. Sources close to Police Headquarters said that the policeman, PC Kenneth Sevasta, was due to be charged on Monday 18 October.

Glen Scicluna, 33, from Marsascala and Roderick Stabile, 27, from Zejtun admitted to giving PC Sevasta, from the Administrative Law Enforcement unit (ALE), supermarket vouchers, a mobile phone and a couple of meals, and even to paying part of a Melita cable bill in exchange for information about the whereabouts of the police during raids on hunting in 2008.

In submissions on punishment, defence lawyer Joe Mifsud said Mr Scicluna was not the person who had bribed the officer – it had been the other way round.

In his statement to the police, Mr Scicluna said he had met PC Sevasta at Roderick Stabile's wedding and the officer told him he was willing to warn him when the raids would take place. He added that he was a hunter himself. They exchanged phone numbers and whenever Mr Sevasta was on duty he would tip Mr Scicluna off about impending raids.

Lawyer Michael Falzon, legal advisor for Mr Stabile, said his client had only taken PC Sevasta out for meals because they were very good friends: it was as simple as that.

Magistrate Edwina Grima said it seemed the policeman was the mastermind behind it all. She emphasised that this was a very serious crime in which an officer had been bribed and such a crime was completely unacceptable.

Glen Scicluna and Roderick Stabile gave notice of appeal against the sentence.

Eric Scicluna, 38, from Mtarfa pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against the other two.

Police Superintendent Mario Spiteri also testified that the accused had given PC Sevasta a bottle of whisky and a box of pork.

The case against Eric Scicluna continues next month.

Following this case the Commissioner of Police ordered an inquiry and some ALE personnel were transferred to other police units.