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5 March 1999
A Marlborough man has been convicted and fined a total of $3,900 on charges related to illegally selling uninspected meat and filing false returns.
Maurice John Hebberd of Rai Valley was convicted and fined a $1000 on each of three charges of selling uninspected pork from a rural slaughter house for human consumption, outside a rural meat area. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Under the Meat Act, rural meat areas are the only areas in which uninspected meat from a rural slaughter house can be sold.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which brought the prosecution, gave evidence that Hebbard told a MAF inspector that he bought pork for sales of bacon and ham outside of the rural meat area from licensed abattoirs. He said he kept the inspected and uninspected meat separated in his butcher shop.
However, information both recent and historic suggested Hebbard was in fact selling uninspected meat from his own rural slaughter house outside the specified area.
As a result of earlier investigations and observations made by a MAF investigator, the Ministry engaged a private investigator and another person, both from outside the specified rural meat area, to try to buy pork from the defendant on three separate occasions.
On each occasions, they received uninspected meat.
Hebbard was also convicted on three counts of filing false returns with intent to deceive, for which he was fine a further $300 on each charge. On a charge of failing to file a return, he was convicted and discharged.
Investigations also showed that he was significantly under reporting to MAF the number of stock being slaughtered in his rural slaughter house.
Hebberd was also directed to pay court costs of $390, and witness expenses of more than $5,000, and was ordered to contribute towards solicitor's charges incurred by MAF.
The rural slaughter house in question has now been closed and the shop sold.
Media inquiries to:
Debbie Gee, Director, Corporate Communications (04) 474 4258