Kinsale Fishing Vessel Master Convicted of Four Fisheries Offences

Scottish skipper, Jonathan Ballany of Aberdeenshire was charged on five counts of alleged illegal fishing activities in Irish waters at Bantry District Court. Photo: Irish Court Services

Scottish skipper charged on five counts of alleged illegal fishing activities in Irish waters

by David Forsythe

A 37-year-old Scottish skipper has appeared in court in West Cork where he was charged with five offences relating to alleged illegal fishing activities within Ireland’s exclusive fishing limits on dates between May 16 and 20 this year. 

Jonathan Ballany of 7 Craigferrar Way, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire appeared before Judge James McNulty at Bantry District Court. Mr Bellany is the skipper of the trawler Andromeda which is based in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire in Scotland. The vessel was boarded by Irish authorities and has been detained at Kinsale since May 20.

Garda Fergal Dowling gave evidence of arrest charge and caution. He told the court that Mr Ballany made no reply when the five charges were put to him. State solicitor Jerry Healy said that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had directed trial by indictment and there was a plea in relation to three of the charges. Mr Healy said it was the State’s application to send him forward to the circuit court.

Mr Ballany is charged with five offences in total contrary to the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, failing to keep an accurate logbook, failing to keep accurate drawings of fish storage rooms, failing to retain an onboard catch, failure to record catch quantities and failing to keep specified catches. Three of the charges relate to landing obligations under the EU Common Fisheries Policy which prohibit the discarding of certain unwanted or undersized species that are part of a catch.

Defence solicitor Dermot Conway said that agreement had been reached with the State in regard to a bond of €100,000 to allow the release of the vessel which was the subject of an ancillary order of indefinite detention. He added that it was also agreed the two lesser record-keeping charges could be dealt with in the district court.

Judge McNulty agreed to send Mr Ballany forward to the next sittings of Cork Circuit Criminal court on May 30. He also issued an alibi waning to the accused that if he intended to rely on an alibi as part of his defence, he must make it known within 14 days. He was released on his own bond of €50,000 no cash required.

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