Fined for cray­pot of­fences

Joondalup Times - - NEWS - Mark Don­ald­son

A MAN with more than a decade’s ex­pe­ri­ence as a com­mer­cial fish­er­man to­day told Joon­dalup Mag­is­trates Court he was “deeply re­morse­ful” for in­ter­fer­ing with cray­pots.

The acts cost Ge­of­frey Ian Ni­chol­son thou­sands of dol­lars in fines.

He was also fined for fish­ing with too many of his own cray­pots at one time.

Mag­is­trate Deen Pot­ter fined him $5000 af­ter he pleaded guilty to nine counts of pulling up pots that did not be­long to him.

The in­ci­dents, which in­volved com­mer­cial and per­sonal pots, hap­pened on sev­eral fish­ing trips at the end of last year near Burns Rocks.

Ni­chol­son’s his­tory as a com­mer­cial fish­er­man left Mr Pot­ter puz­zled as to why he would com­mit the of­fences.

Ni­chol­son ex­plained he was check­ing to see if there were any lob­sters in the area and em­pha­sised he did not steal any of them.

He said the fish­ing trips had been fa­ther-son bond­ing ex­er­cises af­ter re­cent fam­ily trou­bles. But he con­ceded that was “no ex­cuse”.

“I’m deeply sorry for my ac­tions,” he said.

“It’s some­thing I’ll never do again, it’s some­thing I’d never done be­fore.”

He also ad­mit­ted to four oc­ca­sions of fish­ing with six of his own pots when he was only per­mit­ted to be fish­ing with two.

He was fined a to­tal of $1000 com­bined for those of­fences.

He ap­peared emo­tional as he took his seat af­ter the hear­ing.

Mr Pot­ter said he un­der­stood Ni­chol­son’s de­sire to bond with his son in light of the cir­cum­stances.

He ac­cepted that Ni­chol­son did not steal any cray­fish.

But he said there “still needs to be a gen­eral de­ter­rent” as he de­cided on the size of the fine.

The Fish­eries pros­e­cu­tor asked Mr Pot­ter to take into ac­count that the of­fences were car­ried out “over an ex­tended time frame and pre-med­i­tated”.

The max­i­mum fine for in­ter­fer­ing with cray­pots is $25,000 or a year in prison.

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