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Thread: Someone I know is in trouble. What do you think?

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    Member CamB's Avatar
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    Someone I know is in trouble. What do you think?

    A person that I have dealt with a lot over the past few years in in a fair bit of trouble, not a friend but an associate. Let me say that I have always found her to be extremely professional and a really nice person. She runs a tourist boat nearby that takes people out for Dolphin and Seal Swims. The boat is a big one, can carry up to 75 people and would be worth a few million dollars.
    A man was killed when one of her staff told him to jump off the swim board on the back of her boat. She was unaware of this and reversed the boat over him and killed him with the props. She has been charged with the following manslaughter through negligence, culpable driving, recklessly driving a vessel in reverse, endangering persons onboard a vessel and navigating a vessel without local knowledge in waters requiring a certificate. Now I'm not saying she hasn't done anything wrong but I imagine that she is heading to jail and I just can't come to grips that she is the sort of person who belongs there. What are your thoughts about what should happen?
    Last edited by CamB; Mar 8, 2015 at 12:21 AM.
    Regards Cam

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  2. #2
    I am no lawyer, but as a sailor, I do have a fair deal of experience with laws of the sea.

    My question is this -- is she being charged individually, or is her enterprise being charged?

    If she (as an individual) was genuinely unaware, then there is a good chance that she may not be found guilty of the first few charges. If her staff had not informed her of this, then it is the fault of the staff member, and her enterprise could be held culpable.

    Now, for the latter charge (i.e., navigating a vessel without local knowledge in waters requiring a certificate) is usually a misdemeanor in most parts of the world. Not to incriminate myself, but I have done that in a few parts of the world, simply because it's really hard to know the local laws. However, given that she is most likely a local and that someone was killed, it could end up being pretty bad for her.

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    Member CamB's Avatar
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    She is being charged individually, I don't think that there is any doubting she reversed the boat without going through some sort of protocol to ensure nobody was in the water behind her.Nobody else is being charged.
    Regards Cam

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    Big Member Chase's Avatar
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    From the brief of information at hand I would think a good attorney could have her walk away from this. It very well could cost her the company, not to mention astronomical legal fees.
    Last edited by Chase; Mar 8, 2015 at 05:06 AM.

  5. #5
    Member CamB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chase View Post
    From the brief of information at hand I would think a good attorney could have her walk away from this. It very well could cost her the co panty, not to mention astronomical legal fees.
    One of the guys I work with is a Lawyer and he feels the same way. He says she is going to have to get the best Queens Counsel ( Australian legal terminology for mega dollar lawyer) her money can buy to stay out of jail. I can imagine the compensation claims in the civil courts after this criminal matter is finalized.
    Regards Cam

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    Bone Collector Bwana's Avatar
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    There will be tears, stress, lots of money, insurance claims, possible loss of company assets....she will walk, and live with the guilt & pain she feels forever...best wishes to her, thoughts & prayers to the poor victim.

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    King of Mars bolaberlim's Avatar
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    Does she have insurance to cover for the civil lawsuit? If so, she can handle the charges against her person only and let the insurance company deal with the civil claim.

    If not, well I'm not going to say what she should do, I'll say what I would do. I'd get a divorce and leave all my assets with my wife. At least she would be covered and I could get a fresh start after all was over, whatever fresh start there is to be had.

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    Member CamB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolaberlim View Post
    Does she have insurance to cover for the civil lawsuit? If so, she can handle the charges against her person only and let the insurance company deal with the civil claim.

    If not, well I'm not going to say what she should do, I'll say what I would do. I'd get a divorce and leave all my assets with my wife. At least she would be covered and I could get a fresh start after all was over, whatever fresh start there is to be had.
    They do have insurance, I have chartered their boat several times. There is no way you could operate something like that without the insurance over here.
    Regards Cam

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    Super Member Raza's Avatar
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    I can't say for sure, since I don't know Australia's law, but based on US law, those are not strict liability crimes. Minus intent, she can't really get hit with anything too serious.

    Negligent homicide, if that is something that exists there, seems the most that she could be held responsible for, but I'm not 100% sure.

    It sounds like it was just a horrible accident, but she is at the very least definitely liable civilly for negligence. I have a hard time seeing a criminal conviction for something like this.

    But I am not yet a lawyer. If she hasn't seen one yet, she absolutely needs to.

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    Member CamB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raza View Post
    I can't say for sure, since I don't know Australia's law, but based on US law, those are not strict liability crimes. Minus intent, she can't really get hit with anything too serious.

    Negligent homicide, if that is something that exists there, seems the most that she could be held responsible for, but I'm not 100% sure.

    It sounds like it was just a horrible accident, but she is at the very least definitely liable civilly for negligence. I have a hard time seeing a criminal conviction for something like this.

    But I am not yet a lawyer. If she hasn't seen one yet, she absolutely needs to.
    It is interesting, I have a fundamental issue with people going to jail when there was no intent.
    Regards Cam

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