Flapper the turtle could cost $22,000

Source: The Examiner

An ill-considered choice of pet for her grandson could see a Tasmanian grandmother lumped with a $22,000 fine three months after she was sentenced for a wildlife offence.

Sharon Leanne Gibbins, 53, was placed on a good behaviour bond but not convicted after she pleaded guilty in September to possessing Flapper, a long-necked turtle, and to bringing restricted wildlife into the state without a permit by ferrying Flapper to Tasmania in the top pocket of her jacket on a plane.

Turtles are classed as restricted animals under the Nature Conservation Act.

Foxes, wolves, dingoes, minks, toads, axolotls and various types of newt are also classed as restricted animals in Tasmania.

Under the act, anyone possessing a restricted animal in Tasmania is guilty of an offence and must receive the mandatory penalty of a $22,000 fine or two years' imprisonment.

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment prosecuted the case in September and an application has been made to resentence Ms Gibbons according to the act.

In the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday, Ms Gibbins's lawyer, Evan Hughes, said he had put a proposal to prosecution that might mean Ms Gibbins did not have to pay.

"It seems to be a sensible, appropriate alternative, rather than placing a $22,000 fine on this defendant for having Flapper the turtle," he said.

The sentence was adjourned to February 1.

A long-necked turtle. Photo: ROBERT PEARCE

A long-necked turtle. Photo: ROBERT PEARCE