Lie detector used to deny fisherman prize money

A FISHERMAN who caught a monster marlin in the Hawkes Bay has a bigger fight on his hands to get his $48,000 prize after being told he failed a lie detector test.

Dean Young was told to take a polygraph after the promoter of the Mega Fish competition refused to accept the catch was legitimate.

Mr Young, a 47-year-old former police detective, says he hauled in the 136.6kg fish on the first day of the Hawkes Bay Sports Fishing Club contest over Waitangi Weekend.

He said he was stoked to win the top prize - a new Isuzu utility vehicle valued at $48,000 which he planned to sell so the proceeds could be split between the boat's four crew.

But event promoter David Baty from OddsOn Promotions told Mr Young he had to undergo a lie detector test before being awarded any prize.

Six weeks after the fishing competition, Mr Young was flown to Auckland to take a polygraph test administered by a private investigator. Later that day Mr Young was told he had failed the test and wouldn't get his hands on any prize money or the ute.

Mr Baty told the Weekend Herald the polygraph clause was written into the competition entry. Mr Young's claim was still under investigation, he said.

Mr Young said four main questions were asked of him during the test which was repeated three times. He was asked whether he was the contestant who caught the marlin, if they were fishing within the tournament boundary and whether he or any other person had tampered with the marlin causing the weight to exceed the eligibility limit set by organisers.

Mr Young insists his crew did everything by the book, including keeping the marlin in a chiller for three days after it was weighed for it to be examined.

The club's weigh master examined the rod and reel, and measured and recorded lengths of ropes, gaffs and lures used to catch the fish, and the scales used to weigh it were all calibrated. Mr Young also has footage from a Go-Pro video of him pulling in the fish and the GPS co-ordinates from the boat's fish finder recording exactly where it was caught.

He believed the crew had all the evidence needed to prove the catch was legitimate and that they adhered to the competition conditions.

In a statement, Mr Baty said he had a longstanding relationship with Hawkes Bay Sports Fishing Club and had paid out tens of thousands of dollars in claims.

The polygraph test had resulted in a request for further information from the club, he said. The matter was under investigation.

Hawkes Bay Sports Fishing Club president Alex Smith said the club paid Mr Baty $6152 for prize insurance in three fish categories, including the marlin.

He confirmed the club had agreed to a contract with OddsOn Promotions which stated a winning angler may need to undergo a polygraph test. But he said the club backed Mr Young and his crew 100 per cent. The boat's crew were all past club presidents, vice-presidents, club captains and weigh masters.

The fishing club had sent Mr Baty the Go-Pro footage, photographs, a screen shot of the boat's GPS co-ordinates, signed affidavits from all the boat's crew and other independent witness statements. Mr Smith, a club member for 30 years, said he had never heard of an angler being required to do a polygraph test.

Massey University law professor Chris Gallavin said it was unconscionable to require somebody to consent to a polygraph test and the courts would look for genuine, free and voluntary submission to a polygraph test.

The evidence could be inadmissible if people had been hoodwinked or put under undue pressure to take a test.

Professor Gallavin was unaware of any criminal or civil cases in the New Zealand court system where polygraph results had been admitted as evidence.

- NZ Herald