June 2019: Successful prosecution for obstruction of an officer

Posted on 20th June 2019

Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) successfully prosecuted the Mr David Quinn (45) of George Street, Plymouth for obstruction of a fisheries officer, when he refused to allow his vessel to be boarded on the 13 February 2019.


Mr. Quinn did not attend the hearing at Truro Magistrates Court on 19 June 2019. The case was heard in his absence. On finding him guilty the Magistrates handed down fines and costs totalling £4963.


Mr Quinn was seen by officers aboard his boat, an unnamed recreational fishing vessel, south west of Plymouth breakwater during a routine patrol at sea. Officers often board and inspect both commercial and recreational fishing vessels to check for compliance with relevant fishing legislation.


On approach to Mr Quinn’s vessel, officers recognised the vessel and Mr Quinn from a previous inspection conducted in 2018. An officer introduced himself and requested to be allowed to come on board. Mr. Quinn refused to allow the boarding to take place and manoeuvred his vessel to prevent the officer from stepping aboard, before motoring off at high speed towards the Plymouth breakwater.


Having circled the breakwater, Mr. Quinn stopped and officers approached again at which point a boarding was again refused. Mr. Quinn refused to listen to what the officer was telling him with regards to his powers, used abusive language and displayed aggressive behaviour. This was recorded on the officer’s body worn video camera. Mr. Quinn again drove off at speed and officers decided not to pursue him.


Cornwall IFCA Officers are warranted and have the powers to board and inspect any vessels to ensure compliance with fisheries legislation.  


Cornwall IFCA Principal Enforcement Officer Simon Cadman said;  

“It is clearly a very serious matter where an officer is prevented from carrying out inspections work to check compliance with fisheries legislation.  I am pleased the Court has recognised Mr Quinn’s deliberate undermining of the regulatory regime and has reflected that in the sentence handed down to him”.

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