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5th December 2023, 15:45

DPP seeks answers in illegal fishing case

Published by GBC News

The Director of Public Prosecutions made a rare appearance in Magistrates Court this morning to make an application related to the case of a Spanish fisherman charged with illegal fishing in Gibraltar waters.

Christian Rocca expressed concern over the court’s actions on Friday, following a matter which, he said, includes a significant international component.

The following report includes footage taken from the fisherman's social media pages.

Jonathan Sanchez Castillo was scheduled to face charges in court on Friday 1st December, but failed to appear.

Speaking to Spanish media prior to that date, Mr Sanchez made clear he had no intention of going to court. He said the waters he was fishing in were Spanish, and he had not broken any Spanish law.

The lay bench that day initially re-issued a summons for the Spanish national, but the court later put out a warrant for his arrest.

In a terse exchange with Stipendiary Magistrate, Karl Tonna, the DPP said he wouldn’t want a very important case to be derailed by procedural defects.

Mr Rocca asked that the warrant be rescinded, which Mr Tonna declined to do, although he pointed out the RGP might opt not to execute the warrant until there was more clarity on the matter.

While discussing the reasoning for last Friday’s decision, it was noted that neither man had been in court when the decision was made, and the members of the lay bench were not present to explain.

As such, the transcript from that session has been requested, and the matter will return to court on Friday 15th.