Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crown to lay charges in the sinking of the Queen of the North

Almost four years to the day that the Queen of the North sank off of Gil Island, The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General has announced that it is charging Karl Lilgert, the navigating officer of the BC Ferries vessel Queen of the North with criminal negligence causing the deaths of passengers Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette.

The charges were sworn in Vancouver Provincial Court today, with the next appearance in court to take place April 14th.

In the press release put forward by the Crown and published in the Vancouver Sun, the details and background on the incident outline how Lilgert has been charged on the basis that he was the navigating officer responsible for steering of the vessel at the time of the incident.

According to those documents, the available evidence does not support the laying of charges against anyone other than Lilgert.

On March 22, 2006 the Queen of the North failing to make a crucial turn, struck Gil Island at 12:22 am, within eighty minutes the vessel had sank to the bottom of Wright Sound, all but two of its passenger list of 101 were able to make it to lifeboats.

The circumstances of the whereabouts of Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette on the vessel were never determined, the pair could not be found during the course of the evacuation and following the sinking they have been presumed to have perished in the sinking.

According to a report on the CKNW Radio news at noon, Lilgert's lawyer has advised that his client will enter a plea of Not Guilty when he appears in court On April 14.

The criminal Justice Branch described their four year investigation as a difficult and detailed one, leading to the delivery of the charges against Mr. Lilgert today.

Vancouver Sun-- Navigating officer charged in 2006 fatal Queen of the North sinking
Globe and Mail-- Charges laid in sinking of Queen of the North ferry
CTV News British Columbia-- Crew member charged in B.C. ferry sinking
CBC News-- Charges laid in BC Ferries deaths

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