| 8.6°C Dublin

The one that didn't get away - fisherman is fined for breach

Close

Vitalie Meriacre was fined

Vitalie Meriacre was fined

Vitalie Meriacre was fined

A fishing enthusiast who breached Covid-19 travel restrictions twice in the one day claimed he has "no excuse" as to why he did, but he has learned a lesson.

Vitalie Meriacre (35) was nearly 22km from his home, unpacking fishing equipment from his car at The Estuary in Swords, when he was approached by Garda Ciaran McGroder and directed to return to his home as he was contravening the regulations.

Gda McGroder told the defendant that fishing was not permitted during the lockdown in May and that he was contravening the regulations by travelling further than 5km from his home.

The defendant said he understood and was directed to leave and return to his home, Swords District Court heard.

However, two and a half hours later, while Gda McGroder was on patrol in the Portrane area, he came across the defendant for a second time.

Offence

"He had his fishing gear with him and he had committed an offence by not returning home when he was directed to," said Sergeant Patricia McGarrity.

The defendant, with an address at The Way, Hunter's Run in Clonee, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to failing to adhere to Covid-19 lockdown regulations on May 19 in Portrane.

The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of up to €2,500 or a prison sentence not exceeding six months.

Defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy said the defendant should have gone home but he didn't.

"He has no excuse. He has never been in trouble before and it won't happen again. He has learned his lesson and he is putting himself at the mercy of the court," said Ms D'Arcy.

Judge Dermot Dempsey remarked: "He was warned at 9am and then two hours later is stopped again in a different area. Maybe we should be sending a message out."

The judge convicted and fined the defendant €350 and warned him if he comes before that court again it's custody he is facing.