Poacher avoids jail sentence
THE first person in WA to be sentenced over a tough new poaching law has avoided jail despite the prosecution strongly urging for imprisonment after he took 255 abalone from the protected Marmion Marine Park.
Dat Duc Luu faced Joondalup Magistrates Court on Tuesday, July 31, having pleaded guilty to multiple offences, the most serious being that he was “a person that trafficked in a com- mercial quantity of priority fish” on December 30, 2016.
Luu was the first person in the State to be sentenced over the charge, which was introduced in 2011.
He faced a maximum two years in jail or $200,000 fine, but Magistrate Gregory Benn imposed a $10,000 fine.
Mr Benn said a prison term was “not an outrageous submission” but did not think it was warranted because Luu had poached the Roe’s abalone to give as gifts, rather than sell for commercial gain.
Luu also received mandatory penalties and fines for other offences totalling more than $8000, which cost him nearly $20,000 for his illegal catch.
He was banned from abalone fishing for two years.
Mr Benn also had to consider whether Luu was allowed to have his car back because Fisheries officers had seized it at the time of the offence.
The Jeep was his son’s car and had been impounded for more than 18 months.
The prosecution did not want it returned, but Mr Benn allowed for it, saying it would have a “significant impact on another family member” if he did not.
He scorned Luu for his behaviour, saying the degree of harm he caused was “effectively incalculable”.
Luu had tried to poach abalone on two nights previous to his jumbo haul at Watermans Bay, but had left empty handed.
Abalone can not be taken from the marine park at any time of year.
Luu, a married father-of-three, was a fisherman in Vietnam before moving to Perth and becoming a baker.
Dat Duc Luu (right) with his lawyer outside court.