Northern Ireland news

Man accused of selling more than 200 animals including lions, crocodiles and great white shark

The animals included a great white shark

CRAIGAVON Magistrates Court has heard that a man is accused of selling more than 200 animals including lions, crocodiles and a great white shark.

Among other animals 38-year-old Roman Panik, formerly of Beech Court in Lurgan, is alleged to have sold are alligators, tigers, leopards, pumas, lynxes, buzzards, otters, wolves, bobcats and black bears.

A summons, which District Judge Mark McGarrity deemed not served, charges him with four counts of trading in endangered species and four counts of evading the duty on imported goods.

Panik is accused of selling the animals on dates unknown between 1 January 2014 and 14 May 2015.

No further details were revealed in court.

Defence solicitor Pat Verner told the court the case relates to a “somewhat unusual summons” which had been sent to Panik’s old address.

“We just found out by chance that this matter was in the list today,” he said, adding that “the job trial investigation was back in 2015”.

Mr Verner revealed that Panik “has applied for resettlement under the immigration” and it was the Home Office who discovered there was a “pending prosecution”.

He told the court the summons and supporting paper work had been sent to an address where Panik had not lived for four years but that PPS had sent him the front cover sheet with the charges.

Prosecuting lawyer Malcolm Irvine conceded he “would have my doubts” that the summons had been properly served but said “the department would welcome the opportunity to look at certain matters that have arisen in the recent past in this case”.

With Judge McGarrity deeming the summons not served, Mr Verner told him he would forward Panik’s new address.

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