Chris Packham 'pushed' by police and charged with assault after confrontation with bird hunters

Hayley Dixon
Chris Packham outside the police station in Malta after being charged with assault - Chris Packham

Chris Packham claims that he has been "pushed" by police and charged with assault after he was confronted by illegal hunters in Malta.  

The Springwatch presenter says that he was jostled by trappers who then falsely accused him of attacking them before he was manhandled by an officer who led him from the scene.  

The wildlife expert, who says he is "completely innocent", was then held for two hours in the station on the Island of Gozo and is due to appear in court on Thursday. 

In a video recorded outside the station he said: "I have just spent the last two hours in this police station after we were instructed to come back here by the police. 

"This is because two trappers who were present at the time claimed that I had assaulted them. I am completely innocent of these charges. 

"Not only was I the victim of being pushed and jostled around I was also pushed all the way up the street by a police man."  

Mr Packham was in the country filming the independent documentary Malta: Massacre on Migration and was working with BirdLife Malta when the crew spotted a cage full of mixed bird species including Goldfinch and Collared Doves and Turtle Doves and called the police. 

His spokesman said that the officers who attended said that they could not act until experts from the Wild Bird Regulation Unit (WBRU), based in Malta, had attended and as they waited on the roadside two men jumped out a vehicle and began shouting at the crew.  

Mr Packham later tweeted: "You point out suspected criminals to the police... and you end up in court." He added that "probably nothing" happened to the hunters.  

He says that he has been charged "using force against any person with intention to insult or hurt them" and will appear in court on Thursday.  

Chris Packham with a Kestrel he says was shot down illegally in Malta  Credit: Chris Packham

Campaigners have long complained that there is large-scale illegal killing of migratory birds in Malta, which is the only EU country with a recreational spring hunting season allowing birds to be shot

A recent study found that it had the highest concentration of illegal killings in the Meditteranean, with around  340 birds for every square kilometre. 

Mr Packham regularly attends to draw attention to the shoot, which he describes as "bird hell", and in 2014 he claimed he was help by police for five hours and knocked to the floor by armed men.  

The shooting season is over and trapping is illegal in Malta at this time of year.  

The police have not yet responded to a request for comment. 

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