31 May 2011

Defence says Crown has not proved fisheries case

10:59 pm on 31 May 2011

A judge in the Gisborne District Court will consider a defence submission that two local businessmen charged with breaking the law under the Fisheries Act 1996 do not have a case to answer.

A company director, a commercial cray fisher, and a police sergeant from Gisborne face six charges under act for taking undersized paua and crayfish for a traditional Maori hui.

The Ministry of Fisheries has charged a company director, a commercial crayfisher and a police sergeant with taking undersized crayfish and paua for the purposes of supplying a traditional Maori hui, when none took place.

Prosecutor Morgan Dunn says what was supposed to be a meeting turned out to be a 50th wedding anniversary. He says only 15 people attended and no traditional Maori protocol was observed.

But defence counsel Mike Sullivan, who is representing two of the three defendants, says his clients believed they acted within the law.

Mr Sullivan told Judge Philip Connell on Tuesday he would present a written submission that the Crown has not proved a case against his clients.

The judge will consider the submission on Friday.

Permit issued 'in good faith'

A marae trustee from Tolaga Bay earlier told the court he acted in good faith in issuing a customary permit to gather seafood for the wedding anniversary.

Maui Tangihau says he issued the permit in March last year, after being satisfied that the application was genuine.

The gathering was supposed to be held over two days, but was only during one night, he says.