A Portuguese fishing boat has been detained pending the payment of a bond of more than €150,000 after it was accompanied into Castletownbere by the LE Samuel Beckett on Thursday.
The skipper of the Mestre Bobicha, Jose Ramon Perez Sampedro, appeared before a special sitting of Clonakilty District Court in on a charge of fishing with passive gear that was not correctly marked 300km off the Irish coast near Fastnet.
It’s alleged that the boat had several tonnes of blue shark on board when it was inspected and that it had been fishing with buoys that were not correctly marked, in breach of European fishing regulations.
Solicitor Conrad Murphy, standing in for the State solicitor, requested an order to indefinitely detain the vessel pending the payment of the bond and also for Mr Perez Sampedro to be sent forward for trial at the next sittings of Cork Circuit Criminal Court, commencing October 30.
Giving evidence, Sergeant Stephen O’Sullivan said he had arrested the defendant at 9.05am on Friday morning and charged him 10 minutes later in relation to the alleged offence. The court heard Mr Perez Sampedro, who is in his 40s, made no reply to the charge. Sgt O’Sullivan said a book of evidence was then served on the defendant at 11.30am.
Mr Perez Sampedro’s solicitor was not present but the judge heard he had been contacted and was satisfied to let the matter proceed.
Mr Murphy said the State wanted to indefinitely detain the vessel until a bond of €153,254 was lodged into an Irish bank account. The court heard that sum was established by combining the maximum fine on conviction of €80,000 with the value of the catch on board, estimated at €43,254, and the value of the gear on board, estimated at €25,000.
Judge John King was told that Mr Perez Sampedro’s solicitor was in the process of organising a bond, while through an interpreter the defendant said it was a family business with one boat and that he earned approximately €2,500 a month.
Judge King granted the order and given there was no objection to bail ordered that Mr Perez Sampedro enter a bail bond of €750, no cash required, to appear before Cork Circuit Criminal Court later this year.