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Watch: Hunting penalties may be in need of downward revision - Muscat

Courts imposing fines in 'draconian' way

Penalties for infringement of hunting laws may be too harsh and the time has come to consider a review, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this morning.

The penalties were introduced by the current government when it clamped down on illegal hunting.

Dr Muscat said hunters and environmentalists knew where they stood with the current government. He said he was the prime minister who had raised penalties and even stopped the hunting season when needed. But the way the courts were imposing the fines was draconian and a review was needed because there needed to be more rationality. 

Replying to questions during an event in Luqa this afternoon, Dr Muscat said he would respect whatever the European Court decided about the trapping of songbirds in Malta.

The Ornis committee last week issued a recommendation for the trapping of songbirds to be allowed for a brief period in the autumn. Trapping is illegal in the EU and the European Commission has instituted court action.

Dr Muscat was also asked to comment on the remarks made by Godfrey Farrugia when he resigned from the Labour Party on Saturday.

The Prime Minister said he did not wish to comment other than to say that he respected Dr Farrugia.

He pointed out, however, that up to a few days ago Dr Farrugia was singing the government's praises.  

 
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