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Mayo Angler Avoids Jail Time For Illegal Fishing And Assault

13th December 2013
Mayo Angler Avoids Jail Time For Illegal Fishing And Assault

#Angling - An angler has narrowly avoided jail for assaulting two fisheries officers and fishing without a permit on the River Moy near Foxford in Co Mayo.

Nick McKeown of Foxford was prosecuted by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) at a sitting of Ballina District Court on 9 December 2013. McKeown failed to attend the hearing but was represented by his solicitor, Charlie Gilmartin.

Judge Kevin Kilrane proceeded in McKeown’s absence and, after hearing the evidence from fisheries officers Geoffrey Thornton, Eddie Doherty and assistant inspector Pat Armstrong, convicted him of fishing without a permit on four separate dates and assault on two fishery officers in 2011.

Gilmartin explained his client’s actions by indicating that there had been some confusion as to the ownership of fishing rights on Cloongee Fishery on the River Moy, where the incidents took place.

Solicitor Henry Hewson, acting for IFI, presented an Order from Castlebar Circuit Court confirming that IFI held title to the fishing rights on that section of the River Moy since its purchase by the former North Western Regional Fisheries Board in 2004.

The judge heard evidence that McKeown was also found fishing at Clongee without a permit on a number of dates after the Circuit Court ruling in 2012.

Judge Kilrane reportedly took a dim view of the defendant’s actions and felt that a fine might not be appropriate in this case.

A warrant was issued for McKeown’s arrest so that he could be brought before the court for sentencing. However, McKeown arrived at the court late and the judge agreed to sit again in order to deal with the matter.

Judge Kilrane indicated that he would not impose a prison sentence if McKeown gave a written undertaking to the court that he would not fish illegally in future.

The judge adjourned sentencing to 8 December 2014 with liberty for IFI to re-enter if there is a breach of the undertaking signed.

Published in Angling
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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