Watch: Video released after Packham arrest, court 'fiasco'

Chris Packham cleared of assault after 'time-wasting' case is thrown out

Video released by Chris Packham

Updated 3.30pm with video

Wildlife campaigner Chris Packham this afternoon released a video this afternoon shortly after he was acquitted of assault while filming an illegal bird trapping documentary.

The Gozo court threw out a "time-wasting" hearing and pronounced Mr Packham "a free man". He was cleared of two counts of assault when he appeared in the magistrates' court before Joe Mifsud.

Chris Packham pictured this morning.Chris Packham pictured this morning.

The wildlife campaigner is in Malta making an independent programme when he claimed he and his team were shouted at and shoved.

Mr Packham said he had earlier called police after seeing what he thought was a cage full of birds, including what he believed to be some protected species.

Some hours later he said he became the victim of an assault, but was instead himself charged in relation to the incident - charges he dubbed "odd and peculiar".

The presenter tweeted: "NOT GUILTY! And wait until you see our evidence...".

Speaking outside court, Packham told the Press Association: "It was obvious from the start that these charges were odd and peculiar, because I was the one that was being assaulted and jostled by a man and a police officer."

Neither of the pair was present in court, Mr Packham said.

He went on: "What's obviously thrown a spanner in their works very firmly was that we had three pieces of evidence - one soundtrack and two films - which showed the whole altercation and showed them to be entirely culpable for it, not ourselves.

"As soon as the judge saw that, his head was in his hands.

"He even suggested that our footage should be sent to an Italian comedy channel and remarked at some point: 'Is it any wonder we have problems when the police are acting like this?'"

Packham outside the Gozo police station.Packham outside the Gozo police station.

While Mr Packham was filming a roadside interview, two men jumped out and began shouting at the presenter and his team, shoving them aggressively, Packham's agent said on Wednesday.

The police are said to have taken the side of the men before "manhandling" Mr Packham and the team off the site.

The presenter, who said he spent three hours at a police station following Tuesday's confrontation, said the saga had been "time-wasting, money-wasting and intimidation".

The 55-year-old said: "Obviously we've had to give up our time today for this, where we could be out looking for illegal activity and reporting it."

He said he was not fazed by the encounter, which was "part and parcel of what we have to go through to achieve what we want".

The positive side of the experience was that it will draw public attention to "the constant problems that BirdLife Malta have when trying to get the law upheld", he added.

Speaking outside court, Mr Packham told the Press Association: "I'm a free man.

In a video posted to Twitter early on Tuesday morning, Mr Packham said he had been kept at a police station in Gozo for two hours and issued a court summons.

Mr Packham has actively worked to expose poachers and illegal trappers in Malta and Gozo for several years, sparking controversy some years back for a documentary series titled Massacre on Migration.

Lawyer Stephen Tonna Lowell appeared for Mr Packham.