A COUNTY Court judge yesterday ordered that the plea hearing for Panmure full-forward Gary Robinson be listed for a mention on Friday morning — just 24 hours before Mr Robinson is to spearhead his side’s finals campaign.
The plea hearing on fishing and criminal charges was previously tentatively booked for yesterday and today, depending on the availability of all parties.
However, a legal representative for Mr Robinson told the Warrnambool County Court his client would not be available to appear as he was going trawler fishing “for two to three weeks” from August 12.
Judge Mark Taft told the court yesterday that Mr Robinson’s trawler Western Light was moored at Port Fairy yesterday and had been moored at Port Fairy since late last week.
He said the court would require an explanation on Friday about why the court was told Mr Robinson would be out fishing this week and a plea hearing could not proceed.
“Western Light has been moored at Port Fairy. I cannot understand how this court was told the plea hearing could not proceed this week,” Judge Taft said.
Mr Robinson last played football for Panmure on Saturday, August 11, when he kicked 12 goals against Russells Creek to reach 100 goals for the season.
On Monday Mr Robinson appeared at the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League presentation night to receive his league goalkicking trophy.
He was expected to line up for Panmure on Saturday at Mortlake in the league’s second semi-final against Kolora-Noorat. The current sitting of the Warrnambool County Court was to involve a number of trials, but they were resolved and Judge Taft has pulled other cases forward to fill the void.
Mr Robinson, 34, a professional fisherman of Mahoneys Road, Killarney, and fishing licence holder Roderick McDonald, of Dougherties Road, Portland, both pleaded guilty to two counts of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime in a Warrnambool Magistrates Court committal hearing during May this year. They also face a large number of fisheries charges.
Fisheries officers will allege that Mr Robinson operated a crab and rock lobster licence on behalf of licence holder Mr McDonald. Previously fisheries officers told court they had seized 291 pots west of King Island with the assistance of Mr Robinson.
It is understood Mr McDonald’s licence was for just 40 pots at the time of the offences, between December 2010 and April 2011.