Off the coast of North Carolina, a 883-pound blue marlin was caught by a fishing crew during the 2010 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, one of the richest tournaments. The crew of the Citation was in for the fight of their lives as it swam down 27 miles, it would be the biggest marlin captured in the 52 year history of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.
Five hours later they hauled the beast up
Anglers Andy Thommosan and Eric Holmes couldn’t believe it when they saw it. Their 883-pound catch was recorded in Morehead City. But the real battle was just about to get started, when tournament officials stepped on to the boat to ask for proof of their North Carolina fishing license. The boat owner thought he bought a blanket fishing license that covered the crew. Officials determined the first mate Peter Wann, Virgina was fishing in the tournament without a North Carolina fishing license. Tournament officials disqualified the crew.
The Captain Andy Thommosan says the license was purchased as they went out to sea
Tournament officials say the fishing license was not yet bought at the time the fish was hooked, about four hours after the boat left the dock. Wann was supposed to have purchased a license that covered the entire crew on board the participating boat. The tournament officials also argue the marlin was caught three miles outside the state’s territorial waters. The rules were clearly stated during a pre-tournament meeting Wanna and Thommosan did not attend.
“The rules are the rules,” said one Supreme Court finding attorney Claud Wheatley III
Attorney Claud Wheatley III representing the second place and third place boats, who are looking to divide the $999, 453 prize. The other issue for the Supreme Court to decide is the long standing friendship and business partnership between attorney Wheatley and the Supreme Court Judge John Nobles Jr. The attorney for the Citation was unable to prove any bias evidence.
The Supreme Court is hearing the case after a 3-judge panel of lower state appeals court issued a divided ruling over the judge/lawyer relationship in the county that hosted the tournament. The Court of Appeals Judge Robert C. Hunter wrote in his opinion Nobles should not have been the deciding judge to decide whether or not another judge should hear the case “because it would allow another impartial reasonable person to hear the case and decide the judge’s impartiality.” The court is still hearing the evidence today as reported in Reflector.com.
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