WINNIPEG - Prosecutors say a Winnipeg man convicted of coral smuggling should be forced to pay for a display of the endangered sea life — complete with a plaque that describes what he did.
Jason Daeninck (DAY'-ninck) was found guilty last year of illegally importing coral, rare sea horses and giant clams from Indonesia.
The Crown has argued in court that Daenick should spend 18 months in jail and pay $180,000 in fines.
It also says he should pay to have the coral displayed at the International Peace Garden on the Canada-U.S border between Manitoba and North Dakota.
Daeninck was arrested in 2007 after Canada Customs intercepted a shipment of more than 9,000 kilograms of a coral-containing rock at a port in British Columbia.
The defence is to make its sentencing arguments later this year.
Daeninck and his business, Salt Water Connection, were found guilty of 18 charges under federal legislation.
He testified at his trial that he had actually ordered another type of rock which didn't contain coral. He said he wanted the rock to build a fence in Winnipeg like one he'd seen on a visit to Indonesia. He said there must have been a mistake in the order.
Provincial court Judge Ray Wyant rejected his version of events, calling it "meek and unbelievable.'' He said the type of rock Daeninck said he wanted wouldn't have withstood the rigours of a prairie winter.
Investigators linked the rock shipment to Daeninck and searched his home and business, where they learned he had been involved in other illegal shipments of sea horses and giant clams. None of those items was recovered and officials believe they were brought into Canada and sold on the black market.
At Monday's sentencing hearing, the Crown said Daeninck was hoping to make $60,000 profit. The Crown also said that while Winnipeg is about as far as a person could possibly get from a coral reef, the global damage caused by coral smuggling is huge.