A young fisherman who lied about his father being killed in a car crash, forcing the skipper to return to port, faces paying $170,000 back to his former employers.
Talley's Fisheries' Amaltal Columbia sailed from Port Nelson on December 18 last year, with crew member Tyler Stewart Stokes, for a planned five-week voyage.
But after four days at sea, Stokes, now aged 20, told the vessel's captain that his parents had been in a serious car crash and his father had been killed. His mother was in hospital in a serious condition, Stokes said.
Stokes' partner, Monique Carlaw, 22, confirmed the story to Talley's, which immediately arranged for the vessel to return to Lyttelton Harbour to offload Stokes and get a replacement crew member.
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A day later, after travelling 340km to Lyttelton, Stokes was picked up by Carlaw. He was placed on immediate compassionate leave and given $1000 to help with his expenses.
Talley's staff continued to liaise with Carlaw and Stokes to check on the welfare of Stokes and his family.
But their lie was soon uncovered and they were charged with deception causing a loss of $173,650 to Talley's Fisheries.
Carlaw told police she lied because she was trying to help her partner as she had "real concerns for his well-being if he stayed on the boat".
Stokes and Carlaw, who now live in Christchurch, pleaded guilty at Christchurch District Court this morning. They will be sentenced on August 22.
Judge Gary MacAskill ordered a reparation report.