Poacher back in court


A com­mu­nity work sen­tence has been im­posed on a man who ad­mit­ted his sec­ond poach­ing of­fence.

Ge­orge Stu­art Aitken, a 27-year-old pest con­trol worker from Waikari, ini­tially de­nied the charge, but pleaded guilty at a Christchurch Dis­trict Court case re­view hear­ing on Tues­day.

His co-of­fender, 54-year-old Hawar­den shearer Dar­rell Mau­rice Smith, pleaded guilty im­me­di­ately and was fined $1000 in May. Judge Alis­tair Gar­land noted Aitken had a sig­nif­i­cant his­tory of of­fend­ing in­clud­ing a pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion for un­law­ful hunt­ing last year, when he re­ceived a 100-hour com­mu­nity work sen­tence.

Aitken was with Smith, who had the firearm, the li­cence and a per­mit to hunt on Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion (DOC) land in North Can­ter­bury on March 29. The pair strayed across a river bound­ary onto Wind­ford Hills Sta­tion where their hunt­ing was heard by the sta­tion’s man­ager, who was also hunt­ing.

De­fence coun­sel Vicki Walsh said Aitken and Smith had not gone out with the in­ten­tion of poach­ing and had no idea they should not have been in the area where the stag was shot. Judge Gar­land said he had to in­fer from Aitken’s guilty plea that he knew he was on the sta­tion, not on the DOC land, and had con­tin­ued to hunt. He im­posed 175 hours of com­mu­nity work.


A man who shot a stag on a North Can­ter­bury sta­tion has pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion for un­law­ful hunt­ing. (File photo)

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