Belfast Telegraph

Armagh man charged with selling bears, lions and a shark

An African leopard
An African leopard

By Paul Higgins

A man from Co Armagh has been charged with selling more than 20 exotic predators - including a great white shark.

Among the animals Roman Panik (38) is alleged to have sold are siamese crocodiles, American alligators, lions, tigers, leopards, pumas, lynxes, buzzards, otters, wolves, bobcats and black bears.

Panik, formerly from Beech Court in Lurgan, is alleged to have sold more than 200 specimens of animals between January 1, 2014, May 14, 2015.

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

Defence solicitor Pat Verner told Craigavon Magistrates Court the charges related 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.

Mr Verner revealed that Panik had "applied for resettlement" and it was the Home Office who discovered there was a pending prosecution.

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He told the court the summons and supporting paperwork had been sent to an address where Panik had not lived for four years, but that the Public Prosecution Service had been "kind enough" to send him the cover sheet with the charges.

Prosecuting lawyer Malcolm Irvine conceded he "would have doubts" that the summons had been properly served, but that "the service would welcome the opportunity to look at certain matters that have arisen in the recent past in this case".

With Mr McGarrity deeming the summons not served, Mr Verner told the judge he would forward Panik's new address.

A shark
A shark
A brown bear

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