A 45-year-old man on Tuesday was cleared of illegally possessing six dangerous monkeys and failing to declare them to the authorities after a court found that the Green Monkey species were not dangerous.

Roman Gusman, who was facing a maximum fine of €80,000, was accused of possessing six monkeys that had not been registered with the authorities. But Magistrate Rachel Montebello ruled that the species Gusman had in his possession, Chlorocebus Sabaeus, did not feature on the list of dangerous animals in subsidiary legislation.

The court ruled that the charges could not be supported without this important piece of evidence.

The court heard how the monkeys had been found in cages during an inspection by officers from the Directorate for Veterinary Services and the Environment and Resources Authority. The inspection took place on November 18, 2022.

Gusman was charged with keeping the monkeys in an unregistered zoo but he was cleared of this charge too since the prosecution failed to prove its case.

He was, however, convicted of having kept a firearm on site, which was not the premises mentioned in the license issued by the Police Commissioner. He was fined €1,000 and had the firearm confiscated and his licence suspended for a year.

Police Inspector Elliot Magro prosecuted while lawyers Franco Debono and Matthew Xuereb were defence counsel.

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