Star case: From jail term to suspended sentence

Alfred Vella, 45 of Birzebbuga, who had been convicted of killing the dog popularly known as Star has had an effective three-month jail term converted into a three-month jail term suspended for two years. His €10,000 fine was reduced to €9,000. However he was suspended from hunting for two years from today.

The decision was taken by the Court of Appeal. Both the Attorney General and Mr Vella had appealed.

Mr Justice Lawrence Quintano dismissed both appeals and said that after he took into consideration the early admission by Mr Vella and his 'clean' police record, he was converting Mr Vella's effective jail term into a suspended one.

The tragic story of Star hit the international headlines after she was discovered almost totally buries near Għar Ħasan by Animal Welfare Department officers on May 19, 2011.

Whimpering, she poked her nose through the soil of the grave, which managed to save her life. However, she died on June 6 from an acute inflammation of the pancreas, barely 24 hours after hundreds rallied in a protest against animal cruelty sparked by her story.

During Mr Vella’s arraignment in 2011, Police Inspector Ramon Mercieca said Mr Vella had shot the dog using a homemade gun built  for illegal hunting.

He told them that he had first tied up the dog because the gun couldn’t quite fire immediately and accuracy was an issue. He then shot her and buried her. He also told them that she had been in the grave for some 14 hours before being discovered.

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Comments (4)

What a Human

- Tue 21-May-2013, 12:31

I think it would have been a better idea if Mr Vella was buried with only his nose poking out for 12 hours rather than jailing him. Suspended sentence is conditional freedom.

That way he would have surely know how the dog felt... and I left out the shots.

This man is a monster not an animal.

James A. Tyrrell

- Tue 21-May-2013, 12:06

What is wrong with the court system in Malta. You are supposed to be a member of the EU, but with stupid judgements like this you don't deserve to be. Personally I would have tied this bastard up, blasted him with a shotgun and buried him alive and still would as he is a sad excuse for a human being. It also seems that making illegal weapons is not seen as serious in Malta. Bloody joke!

l fenech

- Tue 21-May-2013, 11:23

The law is an ass.


- Mon 20-May-2013, 22:13


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