Two men charged with killing a turtle off Seaforth
A MACKAY legal service provider asked to withdraw from a case involving two men accused of killing a turtle off Seaforth.
Jermaine Andrew Little and Terreal Robert Charles Smith are both charged with entry or use for a prohibited purpose – taking a natural or cultural resource on June 29, 2018.
The case came to the Department of Environment and Science’s attention in September last year.
It is alleged Mr Little, 31, and Mr Smith, 27, entered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park by boat between the Seaforth area conservation zone and Port Newry to Rabbit Island habitat protection zone.
Investigators allege Mr Little removed a turtle and Mr Smith aided him.
The case was briefly mentioned in Mackay Magistrates Court last week.
ATSILS solicitor Chris Colwill said Mr Little intended “to plead not guilty to this particular offence”.
“The background to it is such that … our organisation would have to withdraw as solicitors,” Mr Colwill said.
“Largely because it deals with cultural-based matters where there is a number of perhaps political issues between traditional owners regarding cultural rights.
“And the organisation has to take a neutral approach to these matters.”
The court heard there was a similar case linked to the Mackay region currently going through an appeal in the district court and the two men were both represented by an ATSILS solicitor, who was not from the region.
However, Mr Colwill said, “certainly from a local perspective we won’t be in a position to assist” and was granted leave to withdraw.
Mr Little, of Bucasia, said he had not spoken to a lawyer yet and planned to do so.
While Mr Smith, of Beaconsfield, said he intended to go to Legal Aid.
“I was pretty much just in the boat with Jermaine,” he said.
Their matters were adjourned to October 20 for mention so they could both seek legal representation.