Man denies poaching in Ballina river

A Ballina man denied that he was illegally fishing in the Brosna River, as he appeared before the District Court on Tuesday.

Pat Armstrong, a fisheries inspector, gave evidence that while on patrol in the vicinity of the Downhill Car Park on September 14 2010 at 9.15pm, he observed a person in the river. A light was shone on this person, and the man was observed to tie a line to a tree, which made Mr Armstrong suspect that a net was being used. Another fishery officer, Padraig Traynor, shouted, “Fisheries, stop,” however the man got out of the water and climbed over the fence towards the Greenhills Estate.

Both fishery officers recognised this man as Declan Hopkins, 58 Greenhills Estate, Ballina.

Solicitor for Hopkins, John Gordon, said that both these officers only saw the man for a split second, so ID evidence was not sufficient to put the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Armstrong said that he knew Hopkins to see for 25 to 30 years, while Mr Traynor said that he knows the defendant to see for about 10 years.

Judge Mary Devins said that ID is the essence and solid proof of the case and therefore the judge said that she would make a decision for a direction on June 14.


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