Press Release : Mark Eather Response to Charge of Lobster Poaching/Trafficking – Verdict is “No Case to Answer”
Press Release : Mark Eather Response to Charge of Lobster Poaching/Trafficking – Verdict is “No Case to Answer“
Many have enquired how my “trafficking” charge in the Supreme Court of Tasmania has been travelling and I’m very happy to say that this week, after 3.5 years and a cost to me of $200,000 in legal fees [borrowed], I have been cleared of the charges with a decision of ‘No Case to Answer’/ ‘Unanimously Not Guilty’.
Whilst the court proceedings were ongoing, I wasn’t able to speak freely about the case …. until now.
This outcome was always expected.
Hopefully this verdict will result in a change to the manner in which the administrators in Tasmanian Fisheries management conduct themselves. Their attitude to date has been bombastic, vexatious and combative with the fishing stakeholders in the industry.
This has got to stop. Fisheries should be committed to actually managing the fishery in an ethical and sustainable manner. Fisheries need to fully understand their own laws and regulations and work with the fishing industry to ensure compliance in a consultative …. not vexatious manner.
They need to work with fisherman rather than treat us as targets who can be used to promote Machiavellian agendas. I can’t imagine how much this ridiculous court case has cost Tasmania. And I’m not the only fisherman who has suffered this kind of treatment. Sadly, I know of innocent fishermen that have had to plead guilty or make a plea-deal as they simply couldn’t afford the time, nor the money to defend their case properly in the Supreme Court.
Of course, we need to use the full force of our laws to eliminate poachers, and those that knowingly put the resource into peril …. But surely not use that same Modus Operandi on well-meaning, genuine and hard working souls who may happen to incorrectly interpret one of the plethora of regulations and laws. A simple phone call, or friendly visit is in order … and not a massive, time wasting / costly court action.
For two very long weeks in a dock, I have observed a Prosecution case that (a) indicated that Lobster sales are less than 1% of my business, (b) that every Lobster was legally taken, and purchased, (c) a Wild Fisheries Compliance Manager that couldn’t answer some of the questions pertaining to his own rules [along with 4 very experienced Barristers, and a Judge having extended debate about the very same] … so how the hell is a fisherman expected to know them verbatim ?? and (d) despicably, this charge was REALLY about retribution for my continual embarrassing of Fisheries Officials and Decision makers – via my mission to educate the average punter of what they are actually up to … as can be easily deduced from the fact that they charged me [and conducted a National media broadcast] on the very day that I was to speak at an Environment Tasmania Fundraising dinner at MONA, which I had asked my dear friend Kylie Kwong to come down and host.
3.5 years and lord knows how much Departmental manpower & money ?? …. and the Supertrawler ‘Geelong Star’ LEGALLY creates armageddon along our coasts ….. just one example of numerous tragedies playing out in our industry, and sickeningly condoned by Fisheries Bureaucratic Boffins.
Tasmania and Australia deserve much better than this … our fisheries resources are diamonds, and all Fisheries decision makers / administrators need to start Managing the resource ethically and astutely, rather than making decisions and issuing licences directly proportionate to the size of the donation provided to their Political Party or Department.
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