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Squabble over tape recording

A sound clip was played during a Labour activity yesterday in which a Nationalist MEP candidate is heard saying among other things that Eddie Fenech Adami was either mad or had taken hunters for a ride, but the candidate insisted later the comments were taken out of context.

In the recording, made during a meeting last Wednesday, Alex Perici Calascione is heard saying that one could reach one of two conclusions after reading the letters Dr Fenech Adami (then Prime Minister) had sent to hunters before Malta's accession to the EU: that he was either mad or was taking hunters for a ride.

Dr Perici Calascione, who is the solicitor for the hunters' association, said the comments in the recording in question were taken completely out of context and amounted to a manipulation of what he actually said on the day.

He said he would be suing Labour leader Joseph Muscat, who played the recording, for libel. "Had Dr Muscat played a bit more of the recording he would have shown his listeners that I had tried to factually prove that Dr Fenech Adami was not mad and had not deceived hunters," Dr Calascione said.

He challenged Dr Muscat to either play a recording of his whole speech or else withdraw what he said and apologise.

The promises made by the Prime Minister at the time, that hunting and trapping would not be affected by Malta's EU membership, have been the butt of controversy ever since the EU started restricting both practices.

The government has argued that the rules changed in 2005 as a result of a landmark court cases. But some, including the Labour Party, insist that the government knew it could not deliver what it promised.

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