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Shipmaster Prosecuted for Breach of Customs Order in Limerick |

Shipmaster Prosecuted for Breach of Customs Order in Limerick

Limerick, Ireland – In a recent legal proceeding at the Limerick City Petty Sessions, Thomas Coiris, the master of the steamer “Poonass,” owned by the Limerick Steamship Company, found himself at the centre of a prosecution by the Customs and Excise authorities. The charge stemmed from an incident on June, where the vessel departed from the port of Limerick without obtaining proper clearance, thereby violating established statutes and incurring a penalty of £100.

Mr J. S. Gaffney, acting as Crown solicitor, led the prosecution, while Mr J. Dodds represented the defence. The case was brought under the provisions of 41 and 42 Victoria, chapter 16, section 6, which stipulated penalties for ships departing from any port in the United Kingdom without due clearance. According to Mr Gaffney, the “Poonass” set sail for Garston without the requisite clearance, prompting authorities at the destination port to impose a £100 penalty.

The defence, however, sought to mitigate the severity of the charge by attributing the oversight to a clerical error within the defendant’s office. Mr Dodds explained that a newly appointed clerk, unfamiliar with the protocols, inadvertently failed to ensure that the necessary transire papers were in possession of the master before departure. Despite acknowledging the gravity of the offence, both the defence and the authorities concurred that there was no deliberate intention on the part of the Limerick Steamship Company to flout customs regulations.

After considering the arguments presented, the magistrates rendered their decision. They imposed a fine of £100 but recommended its reduction to £10. This decision reflects both the seriousness of the offence and the mitigating circumstances surrounding the incident.

While this case underscores the importance of compliance with customs regulations, it also highlights the complexities inherent in maritime operations. In an industry where adherence to legal protocols is paramount, even minor oversights can have significant repercussions. However, the willingness of the court to consider mitigating factors underscores a commitment to fairness and justice.

Dublin Daily Express – Saturday 25 September 1915

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