A young hunter was arraigned on Thursday after an illegally shot marsh harrier was found in his car.

Kinsley Ellul, a 25-year old unemployed Marsascala resident, having what the prosecution described as an 'addiction' to hunting, had his car searched after a report about illegal hunting at tas-Silġ, Delimara, on Wednesday evening. 

Hunting is currently allowed only for quail and turtle dove, and only up to noon.  

Police were alerted that the hunter was targeting roosting harriers (Baghdan) a species that enjoys international conservation under the Birds Directive.

The eyewitness filmed the hunter’s movements and continued to follow the suspected illegal activity while on the line with the police.

The suspect was arrested shortly after 9pm and police found the shot bird in his car, with visible signs of lead pellets. They also found two loaded firearms in his possession. Another firearm was found on Thursday morning at the accused’s home.

Ellul pleaded not guilty to a string of charges related to various breaches of hunting regulations.

His lawyer, Alessandro Lia, commented about the “overkill of charges, thirteen in all,” all interrelated and normally associated with proceedings under summons.

During pleas for bail, the lawyer pointed out that the accused had an untainted criminal record, lived at the family home and had limited means.

Moreover in this case there were no civilian witnesses and the eyewitness who had flagged the alleged incident was unknown to the accused. There was no fear of tampering.

Prosecuting Inspector Elliott Magro acknowledged that there was no such fear.

However, there was one main concern which stemmed from the fact that preliminary investigations appeared to show that the youth was “addicted to hunting.”

“His was not just a hobby,” argued the prosecutor, pointing out that Ellul might still go out hunting even though he had been disqualified.

“Addicted is a harsh word. Passionate but not addicted,” rebutted Lia.

However, the accused posed no threat to society and all his firearms had been confiscated, Lia added. There was no reason to keep him in custody until the case was over.

After taking note of the accused’s untainted record and after hearing submissions, Magistrate Ann Marie Thake granted bail against a deposit of €500, a personal guarantee of €4,500, signing the bail book three times weekly and under a curfew between 8pm and 7am.

The magistrate also warned the accused not to go out hunting as he would face a ban for life.  

Inspector Elliott Magro prosecuted.

Lawyer Alessandro Lia was defence counsel.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.