A man accused of illegally importing 850 pounds of conch appeared in Summary Court Tuesday.
Carl Harshell Ebanks, 39, was charged with “importing or introducing from the sea a specimen [the conch] without a valid permit.”
The case prompted Magistrate Valdis Foldats to comment that it was a very unusual charge – “one I’ve never seen before.”
The charge was brought under the Endangered Species (Trade and Transport) Law.
The alleged offense occurred at the George Town harbor on Oct. 17, 2017.
Mr. Ebanks said he worked on a commercial boat.
“I go and come,” he explained, adding that he was based in Honduras.
He told the court that he did have an attorney, who was off island and so could not attend that day.
The magistrate observed that the law gives the court the power to order forfeiture of the vessel if there is a conviction.
He noted that the matter had to do with an international treaty, so he said the court would appreciate copies of the law.
No other details were given and no plea was entered.
The magistrate set the next mention for Jan. 23, when it was expected that Mr. Ebanks’s attorney would be present.
Under Cayman’s Endangered Species (Trade and Transport) Law (2017 Revision), a person guilty of an offense is liable for a fine of up to $500,000 or a prison term of up to four years or both.
The specimen in respect of which the offense was committed would be forfeited to the Crown.