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)