Five fishermen from the alleged pirate vessel Viarsa 1 have been given 48 hours to prove why they should be given their passports back in a new bid by the detained men to leave Australia.
The men launched a second appeal before the full bench of the Supreme Court of Western Australia yesterday (20/04/04).
In what was to be a scheduled one hour hearing which spilled to three, the complex arguments put forward by defense counsel and refuted by the Crown surrounded whether Australia was obligated to follow its own law or whether there were treaties it had signed that gave it other obligations.
In an appeal, the fishermen have to prove that Justice Miller erred in his judgements, or did not take significant circumstances into account, when he refused the five bail last December (2003).
Much of the arguments expected to be heard in trials against the senior officers, Captain and a crew member, has been argued before the Magistrate's and Supreme Courts regarding the bail conditions for the alleged illegal fishermen.
Phillip Laskaris for the Viarsa 1 crew told the three top Western Australian Justices that the court had failed to recognise that the men intended to face their charges, and had the support of alleged rogue company Navalmar in doing so.
Mr Laskaris said Navalmar considered it had invested time and money in the defense of the men, and bail of $AUD 20,000, and gave the first indication that Navalmar was sticking to its guns regarding how much pull Australian law could have against International law for offences committed inside an Exclusive Economic Zone.
But Justice Heenan said the idea that such money committed Navalmar and the men could also quite easily just be another ?operational overhead' if lost, and did not guarantee the men will return ? which all three Justices re-iterated was the main obligation of the Court to the Commonwealth of Australia.
Skipper Ricardo Mario Ribot Cabrera, and senior officers Antonio Garcia Perez, 40, Francisco Fernandez Olveira, 40, Jose Gonzalez Perez, 38, and crewman Robert Enrique Reyes Guerrero, 34, face charges and fines of up to $AUD 500,000 for allegedly fishing inside an Australian EEZ (exclusive economic zone).
They are listed for trial in October after being unable to list prior that point because of inability to have preferred legal counsel and availability of Crown witnesses.
The court has given the men and their lawyers two days to come up with new submissions, and the crown will be given a further three days to respond before the court will make its finding on the appeal.
By Peter Collins ? Perth - Australia