Five Easy Rider charges for widow

Last updated 05:00 10/10/2012

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The widow of Easy Rider skipper Rewai Karetai faces five charges in court relating to the boat, which sank in Foveaux Strait in March, claiming eight lives.

Gloria Davis has been charged with three offences under the Health and Safety in Employment Act and two under the Maritime Transport Act.

All five charges have been laid by Maritime New Zealand.

Nine people were on the Easy Rider when it sank - skipper William Rewai Desmond Karetai, known as Rewai, 47, Shane Ronald Topi, 29, Peter Glen Pekamu-Bloxham, 53, Boe Taikawa Gillies, 28, John Henry Karetai, 58, Paul Jason Fowler-Karetai, 40, Odin Nirvana Karetai, 6, David George Fowler, 50, and sole survivor Dallas Reedy.

Davis is charged that, being a director of AZ1 Enterprises Ltd, she acquiesced or participated in the failure of the employer company to ensure that no action or inaction of any employee while at work harmed any other person on the Easy Rider; that she, as director of AZ1 Enterprises Ltd, acquiesced or participated in the failure of the company to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees while at work on board the Easy Rider; and that she, as director of AZ1 Enterprises Ltd, acquiesced or participated in the failure of the company, as principal, to take all practicable steps to ensure that no contractor or subcontractor was harmed while doing work on the Easy Rider that he was engaged to do.

This charge is laid as an alternative charge.

She is also charged under the Maritime Transport Act that she operated the ship the Easy Rider knowing that a current maritime document, namely a master holding a skipper's certificate, was required before it could be lawfully operated and knowing that the appropriate skipper's certificate was not held, and that she caused or permitted the Easy Rider to be operated in a manner which caused unnecessary danger or risk to the persons on board.

Az1 Enterprises Ltd faces similar charges.

Davis is listed by the New Zealand Companies Office as the sole director of AZ1 Enterprises Ltd.

Both she and the company were remanded by the registrar till October 23.

Davis could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Transport Accident and Investigation Commission yesterday confirmed that its inquiry into the Easy Rider sinking was in its final stages.

A statement issued by the commission yesterday says a draft report had been provided to people closely connected to the incident so submissions could be made before the commission made its determinations and issued a final report.

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Submissions close on October 19, with a final report expected to be issued within the next three months depending on the nature of the submissions and if any further work was required, the statement says.

The commission's inquiry focused on explaining the incident and recommending changes that might be needed to improve transport safety.

It is separate from the regulatory investigation and subsequent prosecutions lodged by Maritime New Zealand.

- The Southland Times

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