A lawyer for Linda O’Leary argues that the evidence showing her client lighting up another ship at the time she crashed is strong enough to hold her guilty of a fatal boat collision.
Closing arguments began this morning in the trial of O’Leary, who was charged with a boat accident north of Toronto in August 2019 that killed two people.
The wife of celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary has pleaded not guilty to a charge of reckless operation of a ship under the Canada Shipping Act.
Her lawyer, Brian Greenspan, told the court today that the video and witness evidence that the lights of the second boat were off at the time of the accident are more than “speculation” about possible wrongdoing by O’Leary.
They argued that it was not possible to know the speed at which Linda O’Leary was driving, whether she was under the influence of alcohol at the time or whether she was driving recklessly.
Kevin O’Leary says he saw ‘zero light’ from another vessel
Greenspan argued that he should be absolved of responsibility because the Crown could not prove that any of those factors played a role in his actions.
“There can be no reasonable, reasonable evidence base for the suggestion that Nautik was anything other than invisible to Mrs. O’Leary on that dark, moonlit night,” Greenspan told the court.
Kevin O’Leary testified in his wife’s defense on Wednesday, saying he saw “zero light” coming from another ship, which was involved in the crash late at night on Joseph Lake.
The former “Dragon’s Den” star was a passenger on the family’s pilot boat at the time of the accident, as well as another friend who was injured.
Gary Poltash, 64, of Florida, and Susanna Brito, 48, of Uxbridge, Ont., died from their injuries after the accident, and three
Others were also injured.
The question of whether the lights of the second boat were on has been the subject of controversy.
Other witnesses on the boat, including the owner who was accused of failing to display the navigation lights, testified that they remembered that some lights were on.
The video appears to show the nautic lights off at the time of the accident
But Greenspan said the testimony of those witnesses should be treated with caution.
They argued that the judge should dismiss their evidence as it did not match with the video showing the lights on the nearly five-metre-long nautical vessel when the accident occurred, and with the testimony of witnesses at O’Leary Cottage. Those who said that they saw the lights of another boat burning only after the accident.
Kevin O’Leary also testified that he did not remember whether his wife had consumed alcohol a few hours before the accident.
The court first heard testimony from a police officer, who said Linda O’Leary recorded an “alert range” level of blood alcohol on a breath test performed shortly after the accident. The officer said Linda O’Leary told him she only had one drink after the accident.
Greenspan argued Thursday that the Crown does not have evidence to substantiate the meaning of that warning test result or whether it affected her client’s boating.
She also pointed to video evidence that she was leaving a dinner party at another cottage in which she was working normally just before the accident late at night.