No discharge after issuing permits to poachers

A Mahia fisheries guardian or “kaitiaki” who issued customary permits to a couple he knew were poachers has been refused a discharge without conviction.

Judge Warren Cathcart delivered the ruling against Morehu “Mini” Shane Cooper, 54, at a Crown call over fixture in Gisborne District Court.

A document as to the judge’s reasons for the decision will be issued later.

Cooper, an appointed kaitiaki for Mahia Peninsula, will be sentenced on September 12 for selling fish in breach of the Fisheries Act 1996.

He and four others were caught in the Ministry of Primary Industries “River” operation, conducted in Hawke’s Bay and East Coast between September 2014 and August 2015.

The operation involved an undercover officer and targeted black-market crayfish and paua sales throughout the region.

The Mahia couple who he supplied the permits to were dealt with last year.

Two others were also charged — Flaxmere man Simon Bird, 48, who admitted buying rock lobster for resale from the couple, and a commercial fisherman who was granted a discharge without conviction in Wairoa District Court last year.

A Mahia fisheries guardian or “kaitiaki” who issued customary permits to a couple he knew were poachers has been refused a discharge without conviction.

Judge Warren Cathcart delivered the ruling against Morehu “Mini” Shane Cooper, 54, at a Crown call over fixture in Gisborne District Court.

A document as to the judge’s reasons for the decision will be issued later.

Cooper, an appointed kaitiaki for Mahia Peninsula, will be sentenced on September 12 for selling fish in breach of the Fisheries Act 1996.

He and four others were caught in the Ministry of Primary Industries “River” operation, conducted in Hawke’s Bay and East Coast between September 2014 and August 2015.

The operation involved an undercover officer and targeted black-market crayfish and paua sales throughout the region.

The Mahia couple who he supplied the permits to were dealt with last year.

Two others were also charged — Flaxmere man Simon Bird, 48, who admitted buying rock lobster for resale from the couple, and a commercial fisherman who was granted a discharge without conviction in Wairoa District Court last year.

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