Timaru man David Lloyd Batchelor will have to pay $2500 to his friend's widow after a fatal boating accident at Lake Alexandrina on April 22 last year.
Frank Sanders, of Timaru, died when Batchelor's dinghy capsized, during a day out fishing with friends. Mr Sanders was unable to swim. None of the men in the boat were wearing lifejackets and all had been drinking.
Batchelor, 68, was sentenced in Timaru District Court yesterday by Judge John Macdonald, after he was found guilty in June of permitting the operation of a boat in a manner which caused unnecessary danger or risk to others.
The judge accepted he was the owner and supplier of the boat, but was not automatically the operator or the skipper.
The key point was that Batchelor allowed his boat to be used. He was fined $500 and ordered to pay Mr Sanders' wife an emotional harm payment of $2500.
In her victim impact statement, Mr Sanders' widow said she held all the men accountable, including her husband, for the drowning.
At the defended hearing the court was told the four men had taken a dozen cans of beer and a bottle of whisky on the trip.
It became windy and the lake had got choppy.
The experienced boaties were carrying only one flotation device with them.
The men were 100 metres from the shore when the dinghy capsized. They clung to the boat for about two hours while it drifted to shore.
It was discovered that Mr Sanders could not swim. Although he was only 10 to 15 metres from shore, he panicked and disappeared under the water.
A pathologist attributed the death to cold water immersion and drowning. Mr Sanders had a pre-existing heart condition and a blood alcohol level of 133 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
Judge Macdonald said Batchelor had to be culpable for permitting a boat to be used with a complete disregard for safety.
"I accept you have lost a good friend, but all I have heard is how aggrieved you feel that you have been singled out and charged," the judge said.
Batchelor's lawyer, Wayne van Vuuren said all four men on board had made mistakes but only one was carrying the responsibility for it.
"I want to acknowledge on behalf of my client the loss felt keenly by [Mr Sanders'] family, but it is also felt by his fishing mates."
Maritime New Zealand said yesterday the death highlighted the tragic consequences of not following basic safety guidelines.
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