Fisherman pinged for selling catch illegally


A fisherman who illegally sold his catch through a popular Queenstown trading website has been fined $1000.

John Bevan Murcott, 36, of Lake Hayes Estate, Queenstown, admitted selling rock lobster, paua and assorted fish in contravention of the Fisheries Act 1996.

Lawyer Michael Morris, prosecuting on behalf of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), told the court an investigation was launched in late 2013 after a tip off.

“On the Queenstown Trader site the defendant advertised ‘hey freezer is getting full of recently caught seafood anyone keen on fresh meat trade/ or cash want to move around 7-10 kilos,” Morris says.

“He then left his cell phone text number as a contact.”

Morris, at Queenstown District Court on yesterday (Monday), then detailed text exchanges organising the sale of fish, including two rock lobster tails for $50 on December 19.

Morris told the court Murcott when questioned admitted he was neither a permit holder, a licensed fish receiver nor a fish farmer – those being the only people permitted by law to sell fish.

But he was an experienced deck hand of 18 years and had worked in a set net fishery, so would have known the law.

Judge Christina Cook, sentencing, says: “Black-market dealing in fish such as this undermines New Zealand’s Quota Management System and is effectively theft of a shared national resource.”

Murcott told Judge Cook: “It was just a stupid mistake.

“It wasn’t a black market. I felt at the time I wasn’t doing something wrong, I was just offering it for trade but then it went on to cash.

“Over the years I’ve given away hundreds of times that amount, of course.”

Murcott was convicted and fined $1000, with $130 costs.

Poacher pinged

A scout leader has been convicted of poaching a deer on private land near Queenstown.

Daniel Robin Gerken, 41, shot a fallow deer at Mt Nicholas Station on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in April.

The station is billed as the finest hunting area in New Zealand.

Prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin, at Queenstown District Court on Monday, says Gerken maintained he’d shot the deer from a jet boat as it stood on a beach, which was part of ‘Queen’s Chain’ lands – publicly owned land.

The deer ran off into private land and Gerken was under the misapprehension it was his duty to follow it and “dispatch it” so it didn’t suffer.

A hunting guide at the station, with two Australian clients, had heard a rifle shot at about 7am that morning, Collin says.

When the guide heard a second shot, he took cover with his clients and contacted the farm manager, Collin says. The manager found the boat and then Gerken appeared carrying the deer.

Gerken, a builder of Arrowtown, was fined $750 and ordered to pay $130 costs.

CBD assault

Two Timaru men have been convicted of a vicious assault on a man in Queenstown CBD.

Truck driver Cody Lee Roker, 22, and Cody Matthew John Marshall, 23, attacked their victim after a verbal altercation on The Mall, Queenstown, on March 22.

Marshall pleaded guilty to injuring with reckless disregard, when he appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday morning (Monday).

Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin says Marshall, in a group of five friends, had punched his victim in the face, knocking him to the floor. He then held him down and punched him again, Collin says.

The victim suffered a broken jaw and bruising. Marshall will be sentenced on July 14. He was remanded on bail.

Roker stomped on the victim’s torso and then kicked him in the torso as he attempted to get up, Roker’s lawyer Tony Shaw told the court, saying he’d at no point aimed for his head.

No injuries were determined to have been sustained from Roker’s assault.

Roker was sentenced to four-and-a-half months’ community detention and 18 months’ intensive supervision, to address alcohol problems.

Roker, who has two previous convictions for assault, was also ordered to pay the victim $1000 in emotional harm reparation.

Judge Christina Cook says: “This was a serious and unpleasant act of violence, regardless of whether there was a verbal altercation beforehand.

Judge Cook added: “If this [behaviour] continues because of what are clearly harmful patterns of alcohol consumption there will be serious consequences.

“This offending is at the serious level. It was a serious and nasty assault.”

Other convictions

Glen Callum Leggett, 36, of Sunshine Bay, assaulted a doorman using a novelty walking stick as a weapon, at Shotover St, Queenstown on April 1. Leggett was convicted and sentenced to 75 hours’ community work.

Brazilian national Rafael Silva Goettems, 20, sales assistant of Frankton, convicted of two charges of assault on George Pearl, January 29 and March 19, remanded on bail for sentence on July 14.

George Pearl, 23, bar manager of Queenstown, was convicted of assaulting Rafael Goettems, March 19, and sentenced to 50 hours’ community work.

Ryan Wayne Fabricato, 35, Australian security business owner, drink-driving, State Highway 84 on May 13, 780 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath (legal limit 400mcg), convicted and fined $800, $130 costs, disqualified six months.

Arnika Lousia Luxton, 18, of Ashburton, drink-driving under 20 limit, Queenstown on May 17, 265mcg in breath (youth limit 150mcg), convicted and fined $300, $130 costs, disqualified for three months.

David Wayne Smith, 31, of Frankton, drove a motor vehicle on Cardrona Valley Road, March, 31, without an alcohol ‘interlock’ device, convicted and fined $600, $130 costs, disqualified for six months.

Luiz Fernando Ribeiro Junior, 38,, Brazilian kitchen hand of Queenstown, disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence in Searle Lane on March 30, convicted and sentenced to come up if called upon within six months (suspended sentence).

Kieran Thomas Robson, 23, of Queenstown, wilful damage on February 15 at Kingston, convicted and ordered to pay $299 reparations, and come up if called upon within six months.

Ashley Paul Coles, 19, engineer of Fernhill, two charges of possession of cannabis, possession of drugs utensils, breaching supervision sentence, breaching community work, convicted and remanded on bail for sentence to July 14.

Karl Alexander Horrell, 28, of Arrowtown, drink-driving on Kingston Road, February 15, 502mcg in breath, fined $900, $130 costs, disqualified for nine months, zero-alcohol licence for three years thereafter.

Myles William O’Connor, 44,, gib stopper of Frankton Rd, Queenstown, driving while disqualified and refusing an evidential blood test, convicted and remanded on bail to August 18 for sentence.