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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Foreign Poachers Return to Court
By Bintu A. Sesay
Sep 11, 2009, 17:16
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Eleven foreign poachers, who were past Friday fined the sum of US$ 155, 000 for illegal fishing related charges, have been re-arrested and charged to court again.


The poachers were re-arraigned before presiding Magistrate of Court No.1 in Freetown, Stephen Conteh on the orders of the latter.


The order was for the Magistrate to revisit his earlier decision and for him to interpret the law correctly.  


On Thursday 10th September 2009, the accused persons appeared before the Magistrate to answer to charges including: Illegal entry into Sierra Leone; Illegal fishing into the territorial waters and; using an unlicensed foreign vessel.


Section 21(6) of the Fisheries Management Act of 1994 states that: Where any foreign fishing vessel is used in contravention of sub section (2), (3), (4) or (5), the owner, chatterer and master of that vessel, each commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than the Leone equivalent of One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars.


Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Oladipo Robin-Mason said: We want the court to correct some administrative irregularities, adding that the total amount that the court was supposed to fine the accused person was US$2,700,000 (Two Millions, Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars), as opposed to the earlier fine of US$155,000.


He said the Magistrate, who was supposed to interpret the law failed to uphold the Fisheries Act, resulting in the loss of Le.8, 793, 000, 000  (Eight Billion, Seven Hundred and Ninety Three Million Leones), if the Act in question is not upheld.


After his application, Magistrate Conteh adjourned the matter to Monday 14th September 2009.


The eleven accused person were all refused bail and remanded at the maximum Pademba Road Prison.


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