Widow in court over Easy Rider deaths

By Allison Rudd of the Southland Express -
Photo / supplied
Photo / supplied

The trial of a Bluff woman who has denied charges laid after the sinking of her fishing boat Easy Rider last year will probably take one week.

Eight people drowned when the Easy Rider was hit by a rogue wave and sank in Foveaux Strait in March last year during a muttonbirding trip to the Titi Islands. One man was rescued.

Gloria Davis, sole director of Easy Rider owner AZ1 Enterprises Ltd and widow of the boat's skipper, Rewai Karetai, has denied charges laid by Maritime New Zealand against her and her company.

At a status hearing in the Invercargill District Court this morning, Judge Kevin Phillips said he had read the submissions from prosecution and defence counsels and estimated the trial would take a week.

"It would be the best part of it,'' Davis' counsel Roger Eagles replied.

Davis was remanded to March 28 so a trial date could be set.

Two of the charges against Davis are under the Maritime Transport Act. They are operating Easy Rider knowing a current skipper's certificate was not held, and causing the boat to be operated in a manner which caused unnecessary risk or danger to persons on board.

Three charges are under the Health and Safety in Employment Act - that as a director of AZ1 Enterprises, Davis acquiesced or participated in the failure of that employer to ensure the safety of employees aboard Easy Rider; that she acquiesced or participated in the failure of that employer to ensure no action or inaction of any employee while at work harmed any other person; and that she acquiesced or participated in the failure of that employer to ensure no contractor or subcontractor was harmed while working on board Easy Rider.

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