Conviction over boat equipment is upheld

The skipper and owners of a fishing boat, who were convicted and fined a total of €4,000 on charges partly related to out-of-date safety equipment on a trawler, failed in their application under the Probation of Offenders Act to have the convictions dismissed.

Conviction over boat equipment is upheld

Judge David Riordan refused an application on appeal to Cork Circuit Appeals Court yesterday to give the accused the benefit of a dismissal under the act.

Barrister Cian Cotter said there was no question of the vessel not having the required safety equipment.

He represented skipper Pat O’Mahony of Phelan’s Lane, Kinsale, Co Cork, and Labardie Fisher Ltd of Four Winds, Weaver’s Point, Crosshaven.

Mr Cotter said certain equipment had passed its shelf life date by a few weeks and would have been replaced in any event shortly after the date of inspection.

He said that, following an inspection in October last year, everything was brought up to a point in excess of requirements within 10 days. He said neither owner nor skipper had ever had a conviction.

Judge Riordan said: “The inspections were for the purpose of compliance, for the purpose of safety.”

It was important, he said, that boats in difficulty could signal distress and lifeboats could be released automatically if necessary.

Affirming the original orders of the district court, Judge Riordan said: “These are not trivial matters. I am not of the view they should be disposed of by a contribution to charity [instead of fines].”

Barrister Donnchadh McCarthy represented the Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport.

Mr O’Mahony pleaded guilty to having expired distress signals on board on October 5, 2015, and having expired hydrostatic releases on life rafts on the same date. Labardie Fisher Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to provide a statement of the names of the skipper, seamen, and apprentices on board on May 28, 2015, and arriving in Crosshaven port on that date with expired distress signals.

Captain Neil Forde, expert witness for the prosecution, said it was very important to have safety equipment up to date and to know how many people were on board a boat setting out fishing.

Mr Cotter BL suggested that the defendant skipper and company co-operated fully with the investigation and that there was no question of any necessary safety equipment not being present on the boat. The defendants were each fined €1,000 on the two charges against each of them.

More in this section