'Springwatch' Presenter Chris Packham Cleared Of Assault After Bird Row In Malta

Chris Packham even joked about borrowing a suit.

BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham has confirmed that he has been cleared of assault, following an investigation into an incident as he filmed a documentary on illegal bird trapping.

The wildlife expert’s name is unblemished, after the case was thrown out by a magistrate in Gozo, Malta. Chris had been charged with assault and trespass after a confrontation with men he believed had illegally trapped wild birds.

Chris remained unfazed this morning as he went into court, joking on Twitter about having to borrow a suit, and later sharing the good news about the case.

He went on to thank his team for providing the necessary video evidence to clear his name in the courtroom.

The popular broadcaster is currently making a film about the spring hunt in Malta, where thousands of birds are shot during their migration.

According to a video he made yesterday for Facebook Live, Chris had called police himself after he came across a cage of protected birds, illegally kept in captivity.

“[The man] had some birds in a cage … but by the time the police turned up, they’d all mysteriously vanished. Weird that. And weird that he’d given a list of these birds to police earlier in the day but he wasn’t arrested, and he’s not going to court, I am,”

In a statement released to the Guardian from Chris’s agent, he had been recording an interview on a public road when two men approached them and “started screaming and shouting and pushing”.

When police arrived, they “immediately took the side of the aggressors and manhandled Chris and other members of the team off the site”, according to hte statement.

During a Facebook Live Q&A session on Wednesday evening, broadcasting from the Maltese city of Mdina, he went into more detail about the incident that lead to the charges.

In the Facebook Live session, Packham said his only concern was the for the endangered birds.

“We’ve come out here not as people from the UK wagging their finger at the Maltese, not even as Europeans – seeing as we’re still part of the EU – but just as people who are concerned about the birds,” he said.

Chris has long been been tireless in his pursuit of protection for wild birds and animals. Previously best known for presenting ‘The Really Wild Show’ in the 1980s and 1990s, he has presented ‘Springwatch’ since 2009.

Barbara Knox

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