Passenger danger charge dropped

Last updated 12:39 17/03/2014

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A captain has had a charge of causing unnecessary danger to passengers and crew of a Cook Strait ferry discharged.

Wellington District Court judge Tom Broadmore today heard an application from John Henderson's lawyer to dismiss the charge against him on the basis that there was insufficient evidence from the Crown to put to the jury.

Henderson, 67, a master of ship who lives in Invercargill, has pleaded not guilty to being the holder of a maritime document, a certificate of competency, and being in charge of the Santa Regina did an act that did caused unnecessary danger to the crew or passengers between April 25 and April 28, 2011.

The Crown has alleged that after a collision with a fishing boat at Glasgow Wharf during bad weather, the Santa Regina was left with a 3.5-metre gash in its side, which was not noticed while the ship sailed to Picton then back to Wellington.

Judge Broadmore granted the application and told the jury that had spent a week hearing the case that they would not be needed to deliberate.

He said that the Crown had to prove that a failure to find the gash and deal with it caused a danger or risk to passengers and crew.

The judge said virtually all the evidence had been that there was no objective risk to the ship.

There had been an inspection of the ship of all critical areas and the areas that weren't critical - where the gash was - was not critical to the safety of the ship, he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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