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Commercial Fishing



Fisherman convicted of assaulting fishery officer. On 12th October 2020 at Mid and South East Northumberland Magistrates Court sitting at Bedlington, Michael William Denton was found guilty of assaulting a Northumberland Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Officer contrary to Section 292(5) of the Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009 (MACAA). At the same time, the court acquitted Mr Denton and his father and uncle on a joint charge of intentional obstruction contrary to section 292(4) of MACAA.

The court heard that on 15th October 2019 Officers attempted to conduct a landing inspection of the catch in fish boxes of fishing vessel Talisman II BK 176 in the car park of The Royal Northumberland Yacht Club. Three crew members from the vessel including Michael William Denton were present and during the course of the inspection it was accepted by the court that Michael William Denton assaulted an officer by physically manhandling and throwing him from the rear of the vehicle. The officer was fortunately not injured as a result of Mr Denton’s actions.

Finding Mr Denton guilty of assault, the Magistrates sentenced Mr Denton to an Order of Conditional Discharge for 6 months, together with a victim surcharge and contribution to prosecution costs totalling £434.00.

Speaking after the hearing, Northumberland IFCA Chief Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officer Mark Southerton said:

“It is extremely important that officers are allowed to carry out their lawful duties and undertake their very important work of inspecting catches in Northumberland to make sure that there is compliance with the rules and regulations which apply. This is in the interest of both the protection of the marine environment to help conserve stocks of fish and shellfish and also so that there is fairness between all fishers wishing to undertake lawful fishing activity. In finding Mr Denton guilty, it was clearly indicated that the court as well as Northumberland IFCA finds an assault on one of its’ Officers to be completely unacceptable and that this will not be tolerated, particularly where Officers are acting as in this case appropriately and within their legal powers ”.