Linda O’Leary’s defense highlights boat light evidence in closing arguments at trial
An attorney for Linda O’Leary argues that the evidence showing that the lights of another ship were out when her client crashed there is too strong to convict her in the fatal collision with a boat.
Closing argument began this morning in Parry Sound, Ont., During the provincial court trial of O’Leary, who is charged with a boating accident in August 2019 on Lake Joseph north of Toronto that killed two people.
The wife of famous businessman Kevin O’Leary has pleaded not guilty to a charge of recklessly operating a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act.
His attorney, Brian Greenspan, told court today that video and witness evidence that the lights on the other boat were off at the time of the crash outweighed “speculation” about possible wrongdoing by ‘O’Leary.
He argued that it was not possible to know how fast Linda O’Leary was driving, whether she was impaired by alcohol at the time, or whether she was driving the boat recklessly.
Kevin O’Leary says he saw “zero lights” from another ship
Greenspan argued that she should be released from liability because the Crown could not prove that none of these factors played a role in her actions.
“There can be no rational and reasonable evidentiary basis for a suggestion that the Nautical was anything but invisible to Ms O’Leary on that dark, moonless night,” Greenspan told the court.
Kevin O’Leary testified in his wife’s defense on Wednesday, saying he saw “no light” from the other vessel involved in the overnight crash on Lake Joseph until after the collision.
The former “Dragon’s Den” star was a passenger on the family’s pilot boat at the time of the crash, along with another friend who was injured.
Gary Poltash, 64, of Florida, and Suzana Brito, 48, of Uxbridge, Ont., Died of their injuries after the crash and three others were also injured.
Whether the other boat had its lights on was a point of contention in the case.
Witnesses on the other boat, including the owner who was accused in the crash of failing to show a navigation light, said they remembered some lights being on.
The video appears to show the Nautique’s lights off at the time of the accident
But Greenspan said the testimony of those witnesses should be treated with caution.
He argued that the judge should reject their evidence as it does not match the video showing that the lights of the nearly five-meter-long Nautical vessel were off when the accident occurred, and with witness testimony of the O’Leary Cabin who said they saw the lights on the other boat only come on after the accident.
Kevin O’Leary also testified that he did not recall whether his wife had been drinking alcohol in the hours before the accident.
The court earlier heard testimony from a police officer who said Linda O’Leary recorded a “high range” blood alcohol level during a breathalyzer test carried out shortly after the accident. The officer said Linda O’Leary told him she had only had one drink after the accident.
Greenspan argued Thursday that the Crown had no evidence to prove the significance of that alert test result or whether it had impacted his client’s browsing.
He also reported video evidence of her leaving a dinner party at another chalet just before the late-night crash in which she appeared to be functioning normally.