Poacher who killed 131 animals ‘must pay’

A former auxiliary wildlife officer convicted in the biggest poaching case to ever hit the canton of Jura has been ordered by Switzerland’s top court to pay close to 100,000 francs in damages to the canton.

Poacher who killed 131 animals ‘must pay’
A pair of roe deer. In what is described as Jura's worst poaching case, a former wildlife officer killed 87 of them, in addition to 44 other animals. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The 40-year-old man was found guilty in 2009 of illegally killing a total of 131 animals between November 2002 and August 2006 and received a suspended jail term of 18 months.

He appealed an additional 91,000-franc penalty for damages to the canton fixed by the cantonal court of Jura in April 2012.

But the Swiss supreme court upheld the damages in a decision released on Tuesday.

The officer killed 87 roe deer, eight chamois, 26 hares, nine boar and an owl.

A fellow poacher illegally killed 12 roe deer, two hares and two boars, while another two hunters were sentenced earlier in the case.

The country’s top court ruled that federal law permits cantons and municipalities the right to see compensation for damages caused by poaching equivalent to the “value of the animal illegally killed”.

The convicted man is also required to share in the cost of paying a further 20,000-franc penalty with the three other poachers.

When the case first went to trial in November 2009, the prosecutor described the four men as “an organized gang that brought the law into their own hands in the forests of Franches-Montagnes (a district in the canton of Jura).

The former wildlife officer was previously banned from hunting in Switzerland for 10 years.

The other three culprits, including a brother of the auxiliary officer, received suspended jail terms and fines.

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Cafés and restaurants in most of French-speaking Switzerland to re-open on December 10th

Nearly four weeks after closing down, bars and restaurants in five of Switzerland’s six French-speaking regions will be back in business as of December 10th.

Cafés and restaurants in most of French-speaking Switzerland to re-open on December 10th
A waiter wearing a protective face mask poses in the nearly empty restaurant "Le Lyrique cafe brasserie" in Geneva. AFP

In a joint press release, Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, and Jura announced on Wednesday that the decision to re-open restaurants and cafés “was made in a concerted manner and with a desire for harmonisation and clarity” among the neighbouring regions.

Of the French-speaking cantons, only Valais restaurants will remain shut, as the canton had extended its closures until December 13th.

Authorities noted that the decision to re-open was driven by the steadily declining coronavirus infection rates in the regions, which until the first week of November had been among the most impacted in Switzerland.

Cantonal officials said that the re-opening “will take place in a strict health framework. It will be mandatory to consume seated and provide contact details for tracing. There can only up to four people per table.”

Tables must be at least 1.5 metres apart and masks must be worn if customers are not seated.

Additionally, establishments must remain closed between 11 pm. and 6 am, in accordance with federal rules.

Authorities said they would monitor “for the possible effects of the re-opening on the pandemic. This means the decision can be revoked if the health situation requires it”.

In Vaud, electric heaters will be allowed outside the restaurants to encourage customers to eat outdoors.

READ MORE: IN NUMBERS: Reasons to be optimistic about the coronavirus situation in Switzerland 

Other measures will also be lifted

For instance, in Vaud museums will re-open on December 1st, and religious services will resume with a maximum of 30 people. They will have to wear masks and keep the 1.5-metre distance.

Also in Vaud, more relaxed measures will be put in place for the holidays: from December 18th to January 3rd, the limit for gatherings will be raised from five to 10 people.

However, participation in other public or private events will remain limited to five people.

In Geneva, the Council of State announced on Wednesday that museums, exhibition halls and libraries will be open from November 28th.

This new relaxation comes after hairdressers, beauticians and other wellness services resumed their activities on Saturday.

Until then, all non-essential businesses in Geneva had been shut down since the beginning of November to curb the canton’s alarmingly high contamination rate. 

You can see the situation in other Swiss cantons here.