By Zizi Sparks
A Marlborough helicopter pilot has been convicted of poaching on private land.
Southern Helicopters owner Dean Matthews admitted a charge of unlawful hunting when he appeared in the North Shore District Court in Auckland on Friday.
Matthew's lawyer said the agricultural contractor took his son and his son's two friends hunting in a helicopter in Marlborough in April.
The group landed in a clearing and began hunting in heavy shrub.
After killing feral goats on Department of Conservation land and wandering from where they had started, Matthews and the boys saw a fence and realised they were on private property.
Matthews left the property and when he found out photographs had been taken, he rang the land owner and apologised, admitted his involvement to the police and sent an apology letter to the land owner.
In 2003, he was charged for poaching deer for commercial use on a central North Island private property.
Judge Down said community service would usually be awarded for a second offence but because of the non-commercial nature of the incident reparations were suitable.
"It [unlawful hunting\ is a common picture and land owners are just so frustrated to be inundated with unlawful hunters," the judge said.
"I accept this was not an intentional trespass and that you made an error of judgement in landing where you did."
Matthews was convicted and ordered to pay $2000 in reparations.