An­gling for jail time

Joondalup Weekender - - Front Page - Mark Don­ald­son

FISH­ERIES prosecutors have pushed for a jail sentence for a man who poached more than 250 abalone from Marmion Marine Park, an im­por­tant re­search area where no one is al­lowed to fish.

The of­fender could also lose his son’s Jeep be­cause he used it in the il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity.

Dat Duc Luu, aged in his mid 40s, pleaded guilty to four charges in Joon­dalup Mag­is­trates Court last Fri­day in­clud­ing the se­ri­ous of­fence of “be­ing a per­son that traf­ficked in a com­mer­cial quan­tity of pri­or­ity fish”.

Luu will be the first per­son in WA his­tory to be sen­tenced over the of­fence, which was in­tro­duced in 2011.

Mag­is­trate Gre­gory Benn is to sentence him on July 31.

Prose­cu­tor Ni­cholas John said Luu, who was as­sisted in court by an in­ter­preter, was mon­i­tored on three oc­ca­sions in late 2016 at­tempt­ing to take abalone from the reef “un­der of the cover of dark­ness to avoid de­tec­tion” in the early hours of the morn­ing.

The mar­ried father of three did not take any of the shell­fish on the first two oc­ca­sions but on his third at­tempt, he took 255 Roe’s abalone af­ter ar­riv­ing about 3.20am on De­cem­ber 30.

Fish­ers have been banned from Marmion Marine Park for nearly 50 years.

The bag limit for Roe’s abalone is 15 in des­ig­nated zones.

Mr John said the reef had the high­est den­sity of large Roe’s in the state and was cru­cial as a re­search area.

“A pris­tine na­ture and shal­low reef platform makes the abalone highly vul­ner­a­ble to poach­ing,” he said.

“It only ceased be­cause the ac­cused was caught red-handed with a mas­sive amount of abalone.”

From page 1 He said the of­fender, who works as a baker, was a former fish­er­man from Viet­nam and would have known what he was do­ing was il­le­gal.

He ar­gued the of­fend­ing was for a “definite com­mer­cial pur­pose”.

Fish­eries of­fi­cers seized the car Luu was driv­ing, which was his son’s.

Mr John pushed for a jail sentence but did not op­pose to it be­ing a sus­pended term.

Luu’s lawyer said his client did not do it for a com­mer­cial pur­pose, in­stead he wanted to freeze the abalone and ship them to fam­ily in Queens­land for Christ­mas pre­sents.

The solic­i­tor pushed for a fine rather than a jail sentence.

The max­i­mum penalty Luu faces in the Joon­dalup ju­ris­dic­tion is a $200,000 fine or two years in prison.

He faces a manda­tory penalty of $7650.

Dat Duc Luu was caught red­handed.

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