Danish fishing delight after Greenpeace verdict overturned on appeal Published: 02 May, 2012
THE Danish Fishermen’s Association has expressed its satisfaction after the environmental group Greenpeace was finally convicted of placing GPS devices in a number of fishing boats to monitor their activities.
Greenpeace and a member of the organisation Sebastian Ostenfeldt Jensen were initially cleared of the offences when they appeared in court in Ellsinore in January. But the prosecution decided to appeal to the Danish High Court and the original verdict has now been overturned in favour of the prosecution. Greenpeace were accused under the Criminal Code, Section 264, which says it is illegal “with intent to obtain or become aware of information about a company’s trade secrets”.
At the original hearing Greenpeace argued that its purpose has been to expose and prove a serious violation of a ban on fishing in the Kattegat. The defence attorney for Greenpeace said the action had been necessary to prevent damage to the cod stock in that region.
According to the judgment of the High Court – Greenpeace had “infringed essential procedural safeguards” for the owners of fishing vessels concerned as they went on board the vessel without owner’s consent and knowledge to set up tracking equipment. Both Greenpeace and Mr Jensen have each been fined several hundred Danish kroners. It is possible they may now appeal.
After the High Court hearing, the chairman of the Danish Fishermen, Svend-Erik Andersen said: “I am very pleased that we now have the Supreme Court’s word that Greenpeace broke the law when they set up tracking equipment on board. It shows that legal fairness for all – including fishermen.”
He added: “We have always maintained that Greenpeace deliberately broke the law to get attention for their cause, although they easily could have obtained the information they wanted from the Directorate of Fisheries.”