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Charges dropped against client in fishing trial

19th March 2015

Michael Brown, acting for one of the co-defendants in a multi-handed case involving the regulatory offence of fishing in restricted waters, persuaded the Crown to drop all charges against his client.


The defendants were allegedly observed fishing in Christchurch harbour under cover of darkness within a restricted zone. Water bailiffs reported that the fishing boat was not illuminated and, when seized, contained a catch of undersized fish. The Defendants entered not guilty pleas on the basis that any casting of nets took place out in Christchurch Bay, an unrestricted area. Further Mr Brown’s client argued that he did not ‘know or suspect’ that the harbour was a restricted area, his co-defendant being owner and skipper of the vessel in question.       


In light of the decision of one of the co-defendants to plead guilty to a significant number of charges on the morning of trial, Mr Brown argued that his client had peripheral involvement in the alleged crime and therefore that continuing to prosecute him no longer met the public interest test.


Ultimately the Crown invited the Judge to return verdicts of not guilty. 

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Charges dropped against client in fishing trial