A trial date has been set for a New Zealand hang-glider pilot in Canada who swallowed video evidence after a young woman he was taking for a tandem glide fell to her death.
William "Jon" Orders, 50, appeared in a Vancouver court last month charged with obstruction of justice over his swallowing of a memory card after Lenami Godinez-Avila plunged 300 metres from the hang-glider, the Canadian Press reported. He said he did it in a moment of panic.
The trial will begin on April 15 next year.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the Vancouver Sun in early June that no evidence had been recovered so far from the camera card, although the process was ongoing.
Orders was arrested two days after the April 28 accident and held in remand for a week while lawyers and police waited for him to pass the memory card.
He was taking the 27-year-old on a hang-gliding tour, along with her boyfriend who had bought the flights as an anniversary present, when 30 seconds into the flight she came loose from her harness.
Godinez-Avila clung to Orders' body when she slipped from the hang-gliding equipment just after takeoff, but couldn't hang on.
She pulled off his shoe as she lost her grip, before falling to her death. Her body was found about eight hours later.
In a public apology to Godinez-Avila's friends and family, Orders said his actions were a drastic result of the "overwhelming stress" he was under.
"I would like to apologise to Lenami's family, to the police and the public for my panicked action of swallowing the memory card as I did," Orders said.
He said his actions were compounded by the presence of his 12-year-old daughter on the field where the tandem flight was supposed to land.
He also apologised for bringing negative attention to the hang-gliding and para-gliding communities.
Orders said the intention of his business was to introduce people and pilots to "the sport which has been my passion for nearly 20 years".
"I have concluded that I cannot and will not return to hang-gliding," he said.
His lawyer, Lori Stevens, said he held expired New Zealand, Australian and British passports.
A source close to the investigation said Orders was a New Zealander.
- © Fairfax NZ News