ROCKLAND, Maine — A Rockland man made his initial court appearance Wednesday after being accused of attempting to strangle another lobsterman over cut fishing gear.
A criminal complaint was filed Wednesday in Knox County Unified Court, charging Joseph Bates, 50, of Class B aggravated assault.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody said that Bates, a former Rockland police officer who is now a lobsterman, tried to strangle another lobsterman during an incident on Aug. 9 at a wharf in Owls Head.
Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said her department investigated and that the dispute was over lobster traps and cut gear.
The victim was not seriously injured and did not require hospitalization, according to Baroody.
But the attack showed “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” according to the criminal complaint.
Because the charge is a felony and the case has not been presented to a grand jury, Bates did not enter a plea at the initial court hearing before Judge Susan Sparaco. The judge accepted an agreement reached between the district attorney’s office and defense attorney Eric “Rick” Morse for Bates to remain free on personal recognizance bail.
His next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1. A Class B offense carries a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in prison.