Sen­tenc­ing next month in boat ac­ci­dent

Shane Lomond pleads guilty to fail­ing to en­sure safety of his pas­sen­gers

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY BRYAN TAIT

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.

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