The Hobart Mercury reported (http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2009/03/28/63871_tasmania-news.html) the following story today on the sentencing of an Australian fisherman who called in a bomb threat on the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.
The Mercury reported that Victorian skipper Kenneth James Archer admitted phoning Hobart police on March 2 and stating there was a bomb on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's boat Steve Irwin. The Supreme Court in Hobart heard that Archer, 50, of Lakes Entrance, made the call while he was drinking with a "fairly panoramic view of the dock and the Steve Irwin".
"Your only motivation appears to be that you had a difference of opinion with members of the crew of the boat the day before," Justice Shan Tennent said.
The ship was evacuated while police and emergency services attended. Most of the Steve Irwin's crew were away on King Island helping to rescue stranded whales.
The court heard Archer was quickly tracked down by police because he had used his mobile phone. He immediately admitted what he had done and spent a night in custody. He pleaded guilty this week to one count of making a false threat of danger.
"Your counsel has indicated that you are embarrassed by what has now occurred, more particularly perhaps your appearance in court," Justice Tennent said. She noted the fact that Archer spent a night locked up and also his apology for the police time that was wasted dealing with his threat. Archer was fined $1500.
"We are satisfied with the sentence," said Captain Paul Watson. "The man was drinking and obviously angry and he acted irrationally. No one was hurt, but I think the fine is appropriate for compensating the police for their time and effort."
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society receives threats all the time. "I once had someone call in a bomb threat to a radio station that was interviewing me. The man said he was protesting our 'violence,'" said Captain Watson.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is satisfied that the sentencing will put an end to the accusations and claims of some critics who have posted on the Internet that Sea Shepherd fabricated the "bomb threat hoax" as a publicity stunt.