A man who pleaded guilty to taking conch illegally on three different occasions received a suspended sentence last week.
For drug offenses dating from 2011, he was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Logard Anderson, 55, admitted taking 111 conch on Jan. 26, 2014 in the vicinity of Heritage Beach, which is a marine park in East End. The quantity was over the maximum daily limit of five. Someone had phoned 911 to report the offending behavior and a marine conservation officer went to the scene.
The Bodden Town Police Station was busy at the time and could not deal with Anderson, so the conservation officer cautioned him and warned him for prosecution.
On May 15, 2014, he was found with 33 conch and two lobster, which he said he got in waters off the Queen’s Highway. Crown counsel Scott Wainwright told the court Anderson admitted knowing it was closed season.
He came to court on Aug. 12 for the January offense. Two days later, on Aug. 14, he was seen taking conch in the Frank Sound replenishment zone. Officers confronted him on land and located a sack nearby. It contained 43 conch removed from their shells and 43 live whelk. Also recovered were a hammer, knife, hook stick and mask.
The conch were donated to The Pines Retirement Home, as they were on other occasions, and the whelk were returned to the sea.
Defense attorney John Meghoo accepted that Anderson had previous convictions for marine conservation offenses, but pointed out that the last had been in 2008. “On my instructions, these latest offenses were committed out of financial hardship rather than because of substance abuse,” he told Magistrate Grace Donalds.
The magistrate said a social inquiry report had recommended probation, but she wondered what Anderson would do if he found himself in financial problems again.
The attorney replied, “I have told him if he breaches an order [of the court], he is likely to find himself in custody. I’ve told him he is in danger of that right now.”
He said Anderson had applied to the Drug Rehabilitation Court in 2012 and had now been clean for three years. When he worked as a carpenter, he earned around $500 per week.
Mr. Meghoo asked the court to impose a non-custodial sentence and give Anderson a chance to prove himself.
The magistrate said that, because of the number of offenses and the previous convictions, she had to impose custodial sentences, but she would suspend them. [The three incidents resulted in eight charges because of quantity, location and time of year.] Anderson received nine months imprisonment for each, to run concurrently, and suspended for two years.
For the drug offenses, in addition to community service, he was placed on probation for 12 months with the condition that he attend counseling as directed, and any group sessions deemed suitable. The hook stick was forfeited.
The magistrate urged Anderson to find some other means of earning money when he is in financial difficulties.