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Taste For Road Kill Seal Lands Man In Hot Water

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Westport, Dec 11 NZPA - A Karamea man stole and tried to eat a seal carcass because he had an unusual diet and often ate road kill, the Westport District Court has been told.

Platon Malakhov, 32, formerly of Russia, pled guilty to possessing a sealskin, and cultivation of cannabis when he appeared yesterday.

His lawyer Doug Taffs said Malakhov, self-employed, had been walking along a Karamea beach, north of Westport, on November 4, when he came across a dying seal. He returned several hours later to find it dead and decided to take it home with him.

Nature had killed the seal and Malakhov was "simply disposing of one single carcass", Mr Taffs said.

He later found the seal inedible because the fat content made it too rich.

Malakhov was unaware that taking the seal carcass for his own use was an offence under the Marine Mammals Protection Act.

Mr Taffs said Malakhov had an "unusual dietary issue" and often got his "meat and fat" from picking up road kill.

He sought diversion for his client.

Police prosecutor sergeant Mark Harris told the judge diversion would be too light a punishment as police had found 57 cannabis seedlings at Malakhov's home.

Summing up, Judge Noel Walsh said Malakhov had been a New Zealand citizen for 12 years and was peaceful and law-abiding.

"Mr Malakhov was not doing anything sinister. He simply did not understand New Zealand laws."

He took into account Malakhov's lack of previous offending and convicted and discharged him for possessing sealskin.

On the cannabis charge, he convicted Malakhov and imposed a suspended sentence. Malakhov was also ordered to pay $300 towards the prosecution's costs.

The judge warned him to stay on the straight and narrow, as the police would be sure to pay him a second visit.

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