Linda O'Leary not facing jail time for charge in fatal boat crash
Sean Davidson, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, October 11, 2019 10:36AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 11, 2019 1:26PM EDT
TORONTO - Linda O'Leary, the wife of celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary, is not facing jail time for a charge she faces in connection with a fatal boat crash on an Ontario lake.
O'Leary was charged in September with careless operation of a vessel after Florida man Gary Poltash and Uxbridge woman Susanne Brito were killed when two boats collided late at night on Lake Joseph, near Emerald Island, in August.
Kevin O'Leary and his wife, who own a luxury cottage on the lake, were on one of the boats involved in the collision.
The 56-year-old's charge was laid under the Canada Shipping Act, therefore the court process is managed by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC).
In September, prosecutors said the maximum penalty for O’Leary’s charge was 18 months imprisonment and a $1-million fine.
"After careful review of the Act, the Crown determined that the PPSC’s initial position on maximum allowable penalties was not accurate," the PPSC said in a statement to CTV News Toronto on Friday.
Gary Poltash and Susanne Brito are seen in this photo. (Supplied)
"The PPSC has reconsidered the position on maximum penalty in light of the Canada Shipping Act and its regulations and are of the opinion that the maximum applicable penalty for a pleasure craft’s contravention of s. 1007 of the Small Vessel Regulations is $10,000.00."
O'Leary's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, told CP24 on Friday the PPSC's confusion over the maximum penalty caused "a great deal of hardship."
"(The) reality is what I said was right all along and they finally conceded I was right," Greenspan said.
"Using the incorrect information and quite frankly causing a great deal of hardship and stress in circumstances where they were wrong."
In September, Greenspan said the crash was “tragic” and “traumatic” but went on to say his client was an experienced boater who collided with a unlit watercraft.
"She was simply proceeding home and we think this charge is inappropriate," he said. "Anyone involved in an incident, an accident, in which lives are lost, there is a great deal of unhappiness about it, a great deal of grief about it."
Kevin O'Leary was a passenger on the boat his wife was driving. (The Canadian Press)
New York-resident Richard Ruh, 57, was also charged with failing to exhibit navigation light while underway. Police said he was driving the other boat involved in the crash.
The two boats involved in the crash were a 13-occupant wakeboard pleasure craft and a small ski boat.
Linda O'Leary is scheduled to appear in a Parry Sound, Ont. courtroom on Oct. 29.