Couple will pay only a fraction of trawler’s losses

A couple will only have to pay back a small fraction of the massive losses they caused to Tally’s Fisheries through their bogus tale of a family tragedy that led to a trawler diverting to Lyttelton.

Tyler Stewart Stokes, 20, and Monique Carlaw, 22, will pay back a total of $13,000 – much less than the $173,650 the company paid to get Stokes ashore in a hurry.

The company put the running costs of the vessel Amaltal Columbia – the fuel, the crew pay, and the loss of fishing time – at $4454 an hour.

Counsel for Stokes, Craig Ruane, told the Christchurch District Court sentencing that his client, who now works as a security doorman, had no means to pay it back. Counsel for Carlaw, Sunny Teki-Clark, said his client was working part time and could only afford to pay a small amount.

Judge John Macdonald said he would make an order for the two to pay back a small amount each week, with $10,000 from Stokes and $3000 from Carlaw. He said Tally’s may consider taking civil action to get more of the money from the pair.

Stokes and Carlaw had admitted a charge of causing a loss by deception over the Christmas time incident, when Stokes wanted to be put ashore from the vessel off the South Island’s east coast.

He told the captain that has parents had been in a serious car crash and his father was killed and his mother in intensive care. Tally’s checked with Carlaw and she confirmed the story.

The vessel was about 300km east of Lyttelton, but it came in close to transfer Stokes to a smaller vessel and the company put him on immediate compassionate leave, with a payment of $1000 to assist with his expenses.

The couple continued with the lie once Stokes was ashore. Carlaw later explained that she was trying to help her partner because she had real concerns for his wellbeing if he stayed on the trawler.

Mr Ruane said Stokes had never thought about the amount the lie was going to cost, and Judge Macdonald said he imagined the couple had no idea at all of the coset involved.

The judge said that usually in cases of causing loss by deception, the offenders had an idea how much they would benefit, but in this case the benefit was simply being put ashore.

Mr Teki-Clark handed a letter of apology to Tally’s, from Carlaw. She was very remorseful. The couple would suffer the consequences of media interest in the case.

Judge Macdonald said the cost was “extremely high”. He said: “The case is clearly unusual. I haven’t heard of a case like this before.”

He ordered Stokes to to 300 hours of community work, for the deception and for a disqualified driving charge. He ordered nine months of supervision when he will have to do a departmental programme of counselling, disqualified him from driving for nine months, and ordered the reparation.

He ordered Carlaw to do 200 hours of community work for the deception, as well as paying the reparation.

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