A man has been fined almost $10,000 after skinning a crocodile at an Airlie Beach motel.
A man has been fined almost $10,000 after skinning a crocodile at an Airlie Beach motel.

'ABSOLUTE CROC': Man skins croc at Airlie motel, eats flesh

A MAN who took a crocodile to a motel, skinned it, chopped it up and then ate it, has copped fines amounting to almost $10,000.

Paul Andrew Isaacson, from Cannonvale, pleaded guilty in Proserpine Magistrates Court, on Monday, to the charge of taking a protected animal, and also to a second charge of making a false or misleading statement to a conservation officer, after he lied about it.

The court was told that the 47-year-old had been seen by the owner of the Islands Inn Motel, in Mandalay, cutting up the body of a crocodile, on September 18, 2018.

"He told the motel owner he intended to eat the meat, dry out the skin and make a belt out of it," Prosecutor Caeli Lovell from the Department of Environment and Science said.

"Two days later, police entered and saw the crocodile skin hanging from the window and took a photo of it. It was a juvenile saltie," Mr Lovell said, adding it was unclear how the crocodile was killed.

"In March last year, the defendant took part in an interview with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and he said a mate called Lionel had done the skinning.

"He served it as food, and he ate some of it and offered it to the motel owner, who spat it out when he knew what it was.

"The Nature Conservation Act is to protect our biodiversity. Mr Isaacson had no permit and took the meat and skin for himself. There is also a significant cost to the community of proceeding with things like this."

Defence solicitor Ali Ladd said Isaacson was on a disability pension, due to a back injury, and had not been in active employment for a while.

"He gained possession of the dead crocodile - it was given to him, he did not kill it," she said.

"He was hungry and needed something to eat and that's the course of action he chose that day."

Magistrate James Morton said Isaacson's story about being hungry and chopping up the crocodile for a meal was an 'absolute croc'.

"We live in a civilised society here sir and I find it hard to swallow, for the court to accept that you were hungry - your story that you took it because you were hungry is not right in modern day society."

Isaacson, who is originally from South Australia, said he didn't know crocodiles were protected animals.

"If you didn't know that, you are more stupid than you look," Magistrate Morton said.

"You were caught red handed but you gave a false account to the investigating officers - you lied. Your story is unfathomable - I don't understand it.

"These hefty fines are to act as a deterrent to you and others - they send a message to the community that you can't do this.

"If you are hungry, you go to the shop, you don't eat a crocodile out of the river."

Magistrate Morton fined Isaacson $5000 for taking a protected animal and fined him $1500 for making a false or misleading statement to a conservation officer, with a conviction recorded for both offences.

He also ordered him to pay $1750 costs and $1500 for the conservation value of the crocodile.


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