BBC presenter Chris Packham cleared of assault

Wildlife campaigner Chris Packham. Picture: DF Management/PA Wire
Wildlife campaigner Chris Packham. Picture: DF Management/PA Wire

A magistrate threw out a “time-wasting” hearing with his head in his hands as BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham was cleared of assault while filming an illegal bird trapping documentary, the presenter said.

The wildlife campaigner was on the Mediterranean island making an independent programme when he claimed he and his team were shouted at and shoved.

Packham said he had earlier called police after seeing what he thought was a cage full of birds, including what he believed to be some protected species.

Some hours later he said he became the victim of an assault, but was instead himself charged in relation to the incident – charges he dubbed “odd and peculiar”.

The presenter tweeted: “Not guilty! And wait until you see our evidence...” after leaving court. He also posted a photo of himself dressed in a borrowed suit ahead of appearing at court, where he was accompanied by producer Ruth Peacey, who said the magistrate had thrown the case out.

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Speaking outside court, Packham said: “It was obvious from the start that these charges were odd and peculiar, because I was the one that was being assaulted and jostled by a man and a police officer.”

Neither of the pair was present yesterday, Packham said.

He went on: “What’s obviously thrown a spanner in their works very firmly was that we had three pieces of evidence – one sound track and two films – which showed the whole altercation and showed them to be entirely culpable for it, not ourselves. As soon as the judge saw that, his head was in his hands.”

While Packham was filming a roadside interview, two men jumped out and began shouting at the presenter and his team, shoving them aggressively, Packham’s agent said.

The police are said to have taken the side of the men before “manhandling” Packham and the team off the site.

Packham, who said he spent three hours at a police station following Tuesday’s confrontation, said the saga had been “time-wasting, money-wasting and intimidation”.

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