Donegal fish factory director avoids jail term

Found guilty of knowingly altering fish weighing machine

By Staff Reporter

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By Staff Reporter

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Donegal fish factory director avoids jail term

A director of a Killybegs fish factory has been ordered to pay €20,000 to two local charities to avoid a six month prison term after he was found guilty of knowingly altering a “flow scale” used to weight the fish they were processing.
Tony Byrne, 49, of Hall Demesne, Mountcharles, as a representative of Norfish Ltd., in Killybegs, pleaded not guilty to knowingly altering a fish weighing "flowscale" on dates unknown between May 1, 2013 and November 28, 2013 and knowingly using the machine between the same days.
The company were also charged with two charges of knowingly altering and using inaccurate scales between the same dates, also at Norfish in Killybegs on the same dates.
He was found guilty to knowingly altering the machine and not guilty of using it, after a three day trial at Donegal Circuit Court last week.
The company were found guilty on both charges.
Judge Cormac Quinn said the case was “too serious” for the Probation Act and that he would impose a six month prison term on Tony Byrne but that he would suspend the term if a sum of €20,000 was paid equally to between the local branch of the RNLI and a local hospice.
Norfish was fined €15,000 for knowingly altering the machine and €10,000 for using it knowing it was altered.
Mr Nolan asked if the sentence could be deferred to allow his client to get his business affairs in order . He said client was not “ a multinational” firm and deals were done through him directly and he would have to find a replacement to carry out this role in the future.
Judge Quinn said he would give him to December 1 saying he would suspend the term if the money was paid by then and he bound the defendant to keep the peace for 12 months.
Afterwards the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency says the verdict was an important outcome for the fishing industry.

For the full story of the trial see tomorrows edition of the Donegal Democrat.