Overwhelming evidence that another ship’s lights were off when Linda O’Leary fell on it meant she should not be found guilty of the fatal boat collision, her attorney argued in court Thursday.
In the final arguments of the provincial court case, Brian Greenspan said his client should be exonerated in the August 2019 crash on Lake Joseph north of Toronto that killed two people.
“She did the right things at the right time when this terrible tragedy struck,” Greenspan told the Parry Sound, Ontario court. “In our view, the fall of the crown is a matter of guesswork and speculation.”
Linda O’Leary, wife of prominent businessman Kevin O’Leary, has pleaded not guilty of negligent operation of a ship under the Canada Shipping Act.
Greenspan said in court that there was strong video and witness evidence that the lights on the other ship – a Nautique – were off at the time of the crash.
Kevin O’Leary says he saw “zero lights” from another ship
Greenspan argued that she should be absolved of responsibility as the Crown could not prove that any of these factors played a role in her actions.
“There can be no rational, reasonable evidence to support the presumption that the Nautique was invisible to Mrs. O’Leary on that dark, moonless night,” Greenspan told the court.
He argued that it was not possible to know the speed Linda O’Leary was traveling, whether she was being affected by alcohol at the time, or whether she was neglecting the boat.
Greenspan argued that his client should be absolved of responsibility as the Crown could not prove that any of these factors played a role in their actions.
The question of whether the other boat had turned on the lights was a matter of dispute in the case.
Kevin O’Leary testified in his wife’s defense on Wednesday, saying he saw “zero light” from the other ship that was involved in the Lake Joseph night crash until after the collision.
The former “Dragon’s Den” star was a passenger on the family’s pilot boat with another injured friend at the time of the crash.
The video appears to show that Nautique’s lights were off at the time of the crash
Witnesses on the other boat, including the owner who was charged in the crash for not showing navigation lights, testified that they remembered some lights were on.
But Greenspan said the testimony of these witnesses should be treated with caution.
He argued the judge should dismiss their evidence because it inconsistent with the video showing that the lights on the nearly five-meter-long Nautique ship were off at the time of the crash, or with the testimony of witnesses at the O’Leary -Cottage who said they saw the lights on the other boat only come on after the crash.
Greenspan also pointed to the testimony of Linda O’Leary’s husband who stated that she was an experienced and careful boater and that she had taken proper safety precautions that night.
Kevin O’Leary also testified that he could not remember if his wife drank alcohol in the hours before the crash.
The court previously heard testimony from a police officer who said Linda O’Leary recorded an “alarm range” level of blood alcohol in a breath test carried out shortly after the accident. The officer said Linda O’Leary told her she only had one drink after the crash.
Greenspan argued Thursday that the Crown had no evidence to prove the importance of this alarming test result or whether it affected its client’s boating.
He also pointed out on video evidence that she was leaving a dinner party in another cottage just before the nightly crash that appeared to make her function normally.
Gary Poltash, 64, of Florida, and Suzana Brito, 48, of Uxbridge, Ontario, died of their injuries after the crash, and three others were also injured.