Men accused of shooting protected bird remanded in custody

Two young men were remanded in custody this morning after they pleaded not guilty to charges of shooting down a protected bird on Wednesday.

George Gatt, 21, of Mosta was charged with shooting the black-winged stilt in Xatt il-Pwales, Xemxija, being in possession of a protected bird, carrying a firearm not in accordance to licence conditions, firing the weapon at less than 200 metres from an inhabited area and concealing the car’s number plates.

Dominic Borg, 24, of Mosta was charged with assisting Mr Gatt commit the crime, carrying his gun and relapsing.

Mr Gatt allegedly shot the bird which Mr Borg then picked up.

Inspector Jurgen Vella prosecuted and lawyer Edward Gatt appeared for the accused.

On Wednesday, Joseph Camilleri, 55, of Żebbuġ, pleaded not guilty to assisting Lee Grima, 24, to shoot a black-winged stilt on Monday at around 12.30pm in Qajjenza, limits of Birżebbuġa.

On Tuesday, Mr Grima pleaded guilty to killing the bird and carrying a loaded shotgun during the closed season and in an area where hunting was not permitted.

He was jailed for three months, suspended for a year and fined €1,000. His hunting licence was suspended for two years and his gun confiscated.

Black-winged stilts have so far nested only twice in Malta, at the Għadira Nature Reserve in 2011 and again in 2013.


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