TWO Erris men caught poaching salmon escaped jail after the District Court Judge reduced their sentences after he initially imposed custodial sentences.
Éamon Mullarkey (54) of Mount Jubilee, Bangor Erris, and Martin Leneghan (48) of Trista, Mount Jubilee, Bangor Erris, were both accused of engaging in a professional poaching operation at last week’s sitting of Belmullet District Court.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Denis McLoughlin said he was of no doubt they were involved in a professional poaching operation. He sentenced Mr Mullarkey to two months’ imprisonment and sentenced Mr Leneghan to three months, because he had a previous conviction for poaching.
However, later in the court sitting, Judge McLoughlin revised his order and reduced the sentence to a €500 fine for Mr Leneghan and a imposed a 12-month probation bond on Mr Mullarkey. Insp Hughes described what occurred as a highly organised professional and commercial operation.
The court heard that Mr Leneghan had a previous conviction dating back to 1990 while Mr Mullarkey had no previous convictions. Marc Loftus, defence solicitor said that Mr Mullarkey was a married father of one while Mr Lenehan was single and asked that the sentence be lenient. Both men were ordered to pay €400 in contribution costs.
In a separate case, Michael Healy (66) of Bunowna, Glenamoy was fined €250 and ordered to pay €400 in costs after he pleaded guilty to poaching along the Glenamoy River on July 28, 2011. He was observed by fishery officers and pleaded guilty to the offence. His solicitor said he had no previous convictions and was sorry for what he had done.