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76yo fisher admits to having 63 illegal swordfish

Commercial fisherman Wallace William Keating pleaded guilty to having 63 illegal swordfish nostrums in his possession.
Commercial fisherman Wallace William Keating pleaded guilty to having 63 illegal swordfish nostrums in his possession. Emily Smith

FISHERMAN Wallace William Keating has pleaded guilty to having 63 illegal swordfish nostrums, entering his plea at the Sarina Magistrates Court on Monday.

The 76-year-old, who also pleaded guilty to two other charges, was one of many in a busy courthouse but was the only person facing charges under the Fisheries Act Queensland 1994.

Two fisheries officers were there to prosecute Keating for three offences he committed in 2016.

However, for the more than 60 defendants appearing in the Magistrates Court, it wasn't going to be a normal day.

And it was no different for the fisheries officers, Keating and his lawyer Ken Seaniger.

"Today is an unusual day where I am required at an official police funeral in one hour," Magistrate Nerida Wilson said.

"Unfortunately, for the first time in 20 months, I don't have the scope here in Sarina to deal with all the matters today."

Ms Wilson had to adjourn the matters to later dates but allowed Keating to enter pleas of guilty to his three charges.

She said the charges came from a complaint on April 4, 2017 by a fisheries officer that on May 15, at Armstrong Beach, Keating unlawfully had 18 undersized barred javelin fish.

Keating said he was guilty of that charge.

He also pleaded guilty to illegally selling eight swordfish nostrums on June 26, 2016 and on July 19, 2016 having 63 illegal swordfish nostrums in his possession.

His matter was adjourned to July 3 for sentencing at the Sarina Magistrates Court.

Topics:  fishing mackay crime mackay news sarina news


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