Maltese Police officer now faces fine for insulting BirdLife volunteers

 

The police officer who earlier this week allegedly described BirdLife members as “faggots” is facing a maximum penalty of seven days’ wages if found guilty.

A Police spokesman that the officer now faces a maximum penalty of a week’s wages, and may also be reassigned to another department within the force.

On Monday 20/04, a BirdLife Malta member of staff was arrested and cautioned by the police after recording the events on his video camera following an incident where a recently dead Little Bittern, a protected species, was seen in the mouth of a hunters’ dog.BirdLife also has a sound recording of the arresting officer telling a Maltese BirdLife volunteer at the scene of the incident that, “You are all faggots, the lot of you” (“pufti kollha” in Maltese).

Rupert Masefield, Birdlife Malta’s press officer, was the person who was arrested by ALE officers on Monday following a report made by the group to police related to a protected bird which had been allegedly shot by a hunter.

Mr Masefield was held after he was warned three times to refrain from filming the police officers, footage taken by BirdLife shows.

Yesterday, Police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit said that the police officer who allegedly passed offensive remarks towards BLM representatives is being investigated, but so is a BLM member, who, it turns out, is Mr Masefield.

In a statement issued on Monday, BirdLife Malta said that instead of focusing on identifying and arresting the suspected perpetrator, Administrative Law Enforcement (ALE) officers were “more concerned that the incident was being recorded”.

The BirdLife volunteer was held for questioning at the Police headquarters, BirdLife said, adding that this was the third time in a matter of a few days that its members were held for questioning by the police.

Police sources have confirmed that apart from the foul-mouthed police officer, the BirdLife volunteer is also under investigation.

“BirdLife members are bound by law to provide all information and evidence in their possession,” the sources said, adding that the NGO does not enjoy any “privileges.”

The same sources added that BirdLife Malta members are often found in possession of injured protected birds. “It is illegal to be in possession of a protected bird, and whenever we ask for veterinarian certificates these are never submitted.”

BirdLife however said that it is regularly contacted by members of the public who encounter and rescue injured birds. “In the interest of the welfare of such birds, BirdLife Malta takes such cases to the attention of a veterinary. Each case is documented, photographed and reported to the ALE, the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, and the Ministry for Environment, including details of diagnosis and outcome of each case.

“Such measures are taken to ensure a timely and non-bureaucratic intervention for the bird’s welfare, as well as to understand the reasons why various species end up injured in the countryside. Unfortunately most of the cases relate to illegal hunting,:

Malta – Massacre on Migration (Episode 3)

You can help make a difference by supporting BirdLife Malta’s campaign to stop spring hunting via https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stop-spring-hunting-on-m…

 

 

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