Article in the Times of Malta, 23. January 2002
Call for harshest penalty possible
Opposition whip Joe Mizzi yesterday said the harshest penalty possible should be imposed in the case of the shooting of swans at St Thomas Bay last Sunday, adding that this was a case that should serve as a lesson to others.
Mr Mizzi said in parliament during question time this was no petty case or an accident involving negligence by hunters, but rather a case in which a lesson ought to be given to others who might commit such offences or perhaps even worse. Thus, he asked, did the Home Affairs Minister think an appeal should be made for the matter to be treated seriously and for the maximum penalty to be imposed?
Home Affairs Minister Tonio Borg said the case had been solved and the accused had been arraigned under arrest.
It was very rare that the accused were arraigned under arrest in hunting-related cases.
However, it was not within his comptence to tell the courts what they should do. The police had certainly carried out their duty.
Mr Mizzi said what he was saying was that the police should demand the highest possible penalty. It was then up to the court to decide.
Dr Borg said the police had made use of all powers at their disposal and would continue do so. But then, of course, it was up to the court to impose the sort of penalty it deemed fit.
In this case the law provided for both fines and imprisonment.
Dr Borg said the police were treating the case very seriously, so much so that Police Commissioner John Rizzo himself had intervened to ensure that the culprits were apprehended. In fact, they were apprehended in under 24 hours