Hefty penalty imposed for threatening Fishery Officers
13 January 2006
Rongomai Timothy Taiapa, unemployed, of Gisborne was today found guilty of using threatening language and behaving in a threatening manner and sentenced to 200 hours of community service.
The conviction resulted from an incident at Kaiti Yacht Club on 18 October, when Taiapa and an associate were stopped by Fishery Officers wishing to inspect the vehicle driven by Taipa.
Fishery Officers wished to conduct an inspection of the vehicle and requested that the boot of the vehicle be opened. This was followed by a period of time when Taiapa refused to comply and became increasingly hostile and abusive. The Fishery Officers arrested Taiapa and called for police assistance.
In handing down his sentence, Judge Adeane said that the offending was serious and that the accused could have been prosecuted under the Crimes Act with a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment. He also observed that Fishery Officers patrolling this part of the East Coast faced frequent and unacceptable levels of threatening behaviour and a substantial penalty was necessary in order to indicate that this type of behaviour would not be tolerated by the Court.
“The Ministry takes threats against Fishery Officers very seriously. Fishery Officers have a difficult job to do and we, and the Courts, will not accept people threatening our staff,” says Fay Holdom, Acting National Manager, Fisheries Compliance.