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Old 16-03-2010, 16:29   #1
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Officer Charged in Ferry Sinking

The navigating officer (Karl Lilgert) at the helm of the Queen of the North ferry has been charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing death.

More ☞ Officer charged with criminal negligence in B.C. ferry sinking

And ☞ Crew member charged in B.C. ferry sinking - CTV British Columbia
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Old 16-03-2010, 17:03   #2
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What would the law look like in the states. What is the difference between a horrible mistake and a charge of negligence? It makes you think twice about that six pack license you were going for.
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Old 16-03-2010, 17:14   #3
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From the CTV article:


"The report said Briker and Lilgert had recently ended a relationship and it was their first shift alone on watch since the break-up.


The safety board said the two were engaged in a personal conversation while the ship was on its collision course."

For me this brings to mind the whole "sterile cockpit" rule in the airline industry, whereby only flight procedures are discussed during critical phases of the trip.

Also, had they disclosed their relationship to their employer? If they did, should some changes have been made in scheduling or work routines, to keep them from working together, & thus preventing them from interfering in the safe operation of the vessel?
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Old 16-03-2010, 17:32   #4
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What I found most interesting about the article is that, though "the nav. equipment had been turned off for weeks", only Lilgert is considered responsible. There was a captain, the ultimate authority, onboard this ship. Did he continually walk past the rasta-scan, thinking someone had left their old t.v. on the bridge? Yes, Lilgert deserves to be tarred & feathered, but sole responsibility? By extension, it seems like an avoidance of legal responsibility by B.C. Ferry Services, to me. "Not our fault. Not our captain's fault. Just individual due diligence".

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/1...inking_charges
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Old 16-03-2010, 18:12   #5
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The Transportation Safety Board of Canada's report can be viewed here. Transportation Safety Board of Canada | Marine
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Old 16-03-2010, 18:25   #6
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What would the law look like in the states. What is the difference between a horrible mistake and a charge of negligence? It makes you think twice about that six pack license you were going for.
From the CTV article:
"The criminal justice branch said a negligence charge is laid when there is evidence someone didn't perform their duty and showed reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others."

I suspect one of the reasons for the long deliberation before laying charges is that they needed to prove deriliction of duty. That is different from making a mistake.
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Old 17-03-2010, 04:27   #7
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From the CTV article:
"The criminal justice branch said a negligence charge is laid when there is evidence someone didn't perform their duty and showed reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others."

I suspect one of the reasons for the long deliberation before laying charges is that they needed to prove deriliction of duty. That is different from making a mistake.
I expect that the purpose of an investigation is to acquire evidence (and assess the likelihood of conviction), and that of a subsequent trial is to determine what that evidence "proves".

The Fourth Officer may, yet, be found innocent of criminal negligence.
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Old 17-03-2010, 07:08   #8
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I guess we'll see what the court says in this particular case, but in a purely hypothetical situation, if the offcer in charge of the bridge was performing some personal task instead of performing the duty that he was being paid to perform, then he was negilgent in respect to his duty. The helmsman no mater how inexperienced was not in charge. The fact that someone died makes this all the worse. Again in the hypothetical, if the captain left a licensed officer it charge of the bridge he would have an expectation that the officer would perform his professional duties. If the officer failed to perform those duties because he was doing something other than what he was supposed to, the Captain would not have taken any action for which he could be held criminally liable. I would think that it would be totally reasonable to charge the bridge officer with negilegence if something happened to the vessel while he was doing personal business and not paying attention to his duties.
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Old 17-03-2010, 08:00   #9
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If the story as written is true and it were under US law, clearly the mate is at fault. The master perhaps, if he was aware of any previous discrepancies with the Mate's job performance. The helmsman definitely not.
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Old 17-03-2010, 08:11   #10
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I guess we'll see what the court says in this particular case ...
... I would think that it would be totally reasonable to charge the bridge officer with negilegence ...
And so we will, and so he was.
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Old 17-03-2010, 10:25   #11
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I expect that the purpose of an investigation is to acquire evidence (and assess the likelihood of conviction), and that of a subsequent trial is to determine what that evidence "proves".

The Fourth Officer may, yet, be found innocent of criminal negligence.
I agree that the investigators gather evidence but prosecutors bring charges when they feel they have proof of guilt and can convince a court to convict. That's semantics, the point being clearly the crown doesn't believe it was simply an accident.
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Old 17-03-2010, 11:38   #12
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Actually, in Canada the prosecutors do not typically 'bring' or lay charges - the police do. I suspect that in a case of this magnitude, there was some consultation with the Crown before the charges were laid, but that need not be the case.

What is clear to this point, is only that the police swore an information charging criminal negligence because in their opinion they have reasonable and probable grounds to believe (and do believe) that the officer in question was not merely careless, but that his actions displayed a wanton and reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others, causing death. Ultimately the Crown will have to determine if they wish to proceed on the charges and, assuming he does not plead guilty, prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As this is an indictable offence (equivalent to a felony in the USA) he will be entitled to a preliminary hearing and, if he is committed to stand trial, a trial before a judge and jury, or a judge alone should that be his choice.

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Old 17-03-2010, 11:42   #13
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Thanks for the clarification. "police swore an information" can you explain this? So the police lay charges and the Crown can have the charges dropped or proceed if evidence is adequate?
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Old 17-03-2010, 12:21   #14
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With respect to the relative roles of the police/crown, you are exactly right. In Canada the 'information' is the document that contains the charges and must be sworn to under oath by a police officer (or in the case of a private charge, by the complainant) before a Justice of the Peace. In the case of an indictable offence, as here, if the accused person elects trial in Superior Court, he/she is entitled to have a preliminary hearing to determine it there is a prima facie case and, if committed to stand trial on the charge(s) after the preliminary hearing, an 'indictment' is then preferred by the Crown which becomes the charging document in the Superior Court.

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