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Bird watchers give evidence against hunter

A number of bird watchers this morning gave evidence against Carl Borg, 30, of Mellieha, who stands accused of hunting at the Natura 2000 nature reserve last week.

Ranger Ray Vella said he saw the accused in the reserve. He was some 500 meters away and he was wearing the same type of clothes as the other accused - Christian Gauci, 27 of Mellieha (who admitted and was fined €4,658).

Taking the witness stand, Christian Gauci refused to testify and said that he may file an appeal from his conviction.

David Tipling, said that on the day in question (last Thursday) he was in a hide with a ranger and they spotted two hunters entering the reserve. The two men disappeared behind the (former) hotel and came back out wearing masks. They  took shots and then went back behind the hotel and left. He took photos and recognized the accused because of the style of his hair , his jacket and his  very distinctive silver watch. The jacket was exhibited in court and the witness said he recognised it.

He said four or five shots were fired. One below the hotel. His view was very clear since he had binoculars and a telescope.

Taking the witness stand police sergeant, Sandro Mallia said he had interrogated the accused, who denied that he was in the reserve.

Taking the witness stand, Robert Spanring, said he was in the nature reserve and saw many hunters on the outside but later on saw two of them enter the site and he filmed them.

Taking the witness stand police inspector Ramon Mercieca said that he investigated the case and the accused denied that he was in the reserve. The police found the jacket and shoes at his house. In a statement the accused later admitted to being in the vicinity of the reserve.

At the end of the sitting, bail was granted against a deposit of €500 and a personal guarantee of €2000.

Gauci's parents burst into tears as the bail decision was announced.

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