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Name suppression for woman who lied about crashing boat at Lake Wakatipu

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Thu, 8 Jun 2023, 10:29am
An inexperienced member of the fishing trip on Lake Wakatipu took over steering, grounded the boat then crashed into some rocks. All had to be rescued and some suffered injuries. Photo / Supplied, File
An inexperienced member of the fishing trip on Lake Wakatipu took over steering, grounded the boat then crashed into some rocks. All had to be rescued and some suffered injuries. Photo / Supplied, File

Name suppression for woman who lied about crashing boat at Lake Wakatipu

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Thu, 8 Jun 2023, 10:29am

A public-facing professional who lied about crashing a boat cannot be named after an 11th-hour suppression order was made by a judge.

The 45-year-old woman appeared in the Invercargill District Court this week after pleading guilty to a charge of providing false information under the Maritime Transport Act.

Counsel asked that the woman’s neurodiverse diagnoses not be reported, but there was no application to keep anything else suppressed.

Despite that, Judge Catriona Doyle granted the woman permanent suppression of her name and profession.

Until sentencing this week, the woman had not previously had an interim order keeping her identity secret.

On November 27, 2021, the defendant, her uncle and some work colleagues took a boat on a fishing trip at Lake Wakatipu.

Her uncle, who owns the boat and was driving, experienced a diabetic low and could not continue to operate the vessel.

As a result, another inexperienced member of the fishing trip took over the steering, grounded the boat and crashed into some rocks.

All members had to be rescued and some suffered injuries.

Maritime New Zealand investigated, and in an interview the defendant lied that she had crashed the boat, not her co-worker.

She said she was willing to “suck it up” if she was fined the potential $1200 for crashing the boat.

After her workplace discovered she had lied to authorities, they encouraged her to tell the truth.

After getting legal advice she came clean, nine days after the interview.

The woman’s manager said her employment may be compromised if she was convicted.

Judge Doyle said it was “untenable” for someone in the defendant’s profession to have a fraud or dishonesty conviction.

“I cannot see that it was done for any potential gain for yourself. There is no suggestion that you were going to come out of this better by saying that you were driving.”

Judge Doyle granted the woman a discharge without conviction.

“You committed to the lie because of your concern for your uncle.”

Her uncle, who was responsible for the boat, faces three charges in relation to the incident.

The work colleague who crashed the boat was not charged and was seeking reparation.

“I cannot see that [the boat driver] is a victim ... I’m surprised she is not a co-offender frankly,” Judge Doyle said.

- Felicity Dear, ODT

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