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Sentencing next month in boat accident

Scales of Justice
Scales of Justice

Shane Lomond will find out his punishment next month after pleading guilty to charges relating to an incident on June 21, 2015.

Lomond was charged with failure of the operator to ensure the safety of the craft and those on board, failure to carry personal life-saving appliances and failure to carry navigational equipment.

Lomond pleaded guilty to the first two charges, and the Crown withdrew the third.

The facts were read and recommendations on sentencing were made Oct. 19, but Judge Lynn Cole said she would need some time to make a decision.

Lomond was operating a boat at Little Paradise Park in MacDougalls last summer.

According to the facts, the RCMP were called to the park at 4:43 a.m. on June 21, 2015, for a report of an overturned boat. Four ambulances were on their way due to reports of one unconscious individual and six people suffering from hypothermia.

The unconscious person, Gus Ford, was later pronounced dead. According to the Crown prosecutor, no autopsy was conducted and the cause of death was given as drowning.

RCMP investigators later recovered the boat and found its listed weight capacity was 835 pounds.

The court heard that the combined weight of people on the boat, excluding Lomond and Ford, was 825 pounds.

According to statements from people on the boat, seven people had decided to cross the Little Codroy River to meet some friends.

The Crown said alcohol was consumed during the day, but police never detected the smell of alcohol on Lomond's breath and did not request a breath sample.

On the way back across the river, the Crown said, the front end of the boat went under and the seven people on board were thrown into the water.

According to the Crown, no one on board was wearing a life-jacket nor were any available.

The Crown said given the circumstances of the case, a significant fine should be imposed on Lomond. The recommendation was $4,500 on the charge of failing to ensure the safety of the craft and passengers and $500 for failing to carry life-jackets.

The defence said there is no ill will toward Lomond for his role in the tragedy, and the people involved believed the incident may have been the result of Ford suffering an epileptic seizure and going overboard. The defence also said witnesses noted Ford had been having dizzy spells in the days before the incident.

According to the defence, Ford's widow doesn't blame Lomond and was hopeful that instead of a hefty fine, Lomond be ordered to make a donation to Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador in the range of $2,000.

For his part, Lomond said Ford had mentioned life-jackets before the group headed out but he thought Ford was looking after it.

Lomond also said he knew the boat was over-capacity and suggested two trips, but everyone agreed it would be OK.

Lomond said he believed something happened to Ford before the incident that contributed to his death.

"I really think my friend was done before he hit the water," Lomond told the court. "I really do."

Lomond will be sentenced Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.

bryan.tait@tc.tc

Lomond was charged with failure of the operator to ensure the safety of the craft and those on board, failure to carry personal life-saving appliances and failure to carry navigational equipment.

Lomond pleaded guilty to the first two charges, and the Crown withdrew the third.

The facts were read and recommendations on sentencing were made Oct. 19, but Judge Lynn Cole said she would need some time to make a decision.

Lomond was operating a boat at Little Paradise Park in MacDougalls last summer.

According to the facts, the RCMP were called to the park at 4:43 a.m. on June 21, 2015, for a report of an overturned boat. Four ambulances were on their way due to reports of one unconscious individual and six people suffering from hypothermia.

The unconscious person, Gus Ford, was later pronounced dead. According to the Crown prosecutor, no autopsy was conducted and the cause of death was given as drowning.

RCMP investigators later recovered the boat and found its listed weight capacity was 835 pounds.

The court heard that the combined weight of people on the boat, excluding Lomond and Ford, was 825 pounds.

According to statements from people on the boat, seven people had decided to cross the Little Codroy River to meet some friends.

The Crown said alcohol was consumed during the day, but police never detected the smell of alcohol on Lomond's breath and did not request a breath sample.

On the way back across the river, the Crown said, the front end of the boat went under and the seven people on board were thrown into the water.

According to the Crown, no one on board was wearing a life-jacket nor were any available.

The Crown said given the circumstances of the case, a significant fine should be imposed on Lomond. The recommendation was $4,500 on the charge of failing to ensure the safety of the craft and passengers and $500 for failing to carry life-jackets.

The defence said there is no ill will toward Lomond for his role in the tragedy, and the people involved believed the incident may have been the result of Ford suffering an epileptic seizure and going overboard. The defence also said witnesses noted Ford had been having dizzy spells in the days before the incident.

According to the defence, Ford's widow doesn't blame Lomond and was hopeful that instead of a hefty fine, Lomond be ordered to make a donation to Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador in the range of $2,000.

For his part, Lomond said Ford had mentioned life-jackets before the group headed out but he thought Ford was looking after it.

Lomond also said he knew the boat was over-capacity and suggested two trips, but everyone agreed it would be OK.

Lomond said he believed something happened to Ford before the incident that contributed to his death.

"I really think my friend was done before he hit the water," Lomond told the court. "I really do."

Lomond will be sentenced Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.

bryan.tait@tc.tc

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