Jail term hits home ‘strong message’ to would be poachers

  • 17/05/2016

Fish & Game says the jailing of a second man in a large-scale poaching case – sends a strong message that trout poaching is taken seriously by the courts and would-be poachers need to “take note.”

David Pake Leef aged 37 has been sentenced to a total of four months jail in the Rotorua District Court.

The pair, Leef and Thomas Tawha 43, and were convicted in November 2014 of poaching as many as 60 spawning trout from a highly valued spawning stream near Lake Rotoiti.

Thomas Tawha, of Kawerau, was jailed for 6 months in April last year.

But Leef failed to appear for sentence, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was arrested last week and remanded in custody to appear in the Rotorua District Court yesterday.

Judge McGuire sentenced him to a total of four months jail on trout poaching and breach of bail charges.

The judge told the court that Leef had no right to take trout, either legally, or under tikanga.

Fish & Game Officer Anthony van Dorp says its pleasing to see the case come to a conclusion with the jailing of the second offender sending a strong message to all would-be trout poachers. “They need to sit up and take notice,” he says.

Fish & Game officer earlier described the case as the worst they’d seen in Rotorua in a decade, adding that the scale of the offending with so many fish in prime breeding condition involved was disturbing.

Fish & Game noted that poaching impacts on the region’s economy, because it relies heavily on tourism and visiting anglers spend millions of dollars every year in the area.

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