Defendant told police he did not see boat

  • New Zealand visitor: Mary Elizabeth McKee

    New Zealand visitor: Mary Elizabeth McKee

A man accused of causing the death of a woman in a Hamilton Harbour boat crash told police he “just didn’t see” the vessel, a court heard yesterday.

Jurors were played a video recording of a police interview with Andrew Lake, who was questioned the day after the incident by Detective Constable Seymour Foote.

Mr Lake said in the interview that he was crossing the Great Sound from Dockyard on Ireland Island North and coming into Hamilton Harbour when he passed a boat, which started to overtake him.

Mr Lake said he looked out to the right side of his boat at that vessel and added: “At the very last second I saw a small red rib with no lights.

“I swerved to the port side to avoid the red rib without seeing any other boat.”

But Mr Lake added, he “just felt the contact” with a third boat which also had no lights.

He told the officers his own lights were on.

He added: “I just didn’t see them, I heard them after the collision saying they didn’t even see me coming either, they weren’t paying attention.”

The court earlier heard that Mr Lake’s boat struck a semi-rigid inflatable boat with three people on board late on June 1 last year.

Mary McKee, a 62-year-old visitor from New Zealand, here for the America’s Cup, was killed.

Mr Lake, 27, has denied a charge of manslaughter.

The footage played in court showed Mr Foote asked the defendant about his actions following the collision.

Mr Lake told officers he “instantly” put the vessel into neutral, checked the surrounding area and when he saw no one, made his way back to the rigid inflatable boat. He added: “I could hear shouting in the water.”

The court heard Mr Lake tell police he “started looking around for anyone that was in the water”.

He also said he called 911.

Earlier yesterday, the court heard evidence from Taran Card, a survey manager and expert in maritime collisions.

Mr Card said police had asked for assistance on June 2 in the case of a small craft crash that had happened the previous night and he attended with two colleagues.

Mr Card said the group first looked at a 17ft vessel, which was painted blue on the bottom with “Lazy Buoy” written on the side before they examined a smaller inflatable boat, which was grey.

He told the court: “Based on our observations, the inflatable appeared to have been struck from the stern by a vessel travelling on roughly the same course it was. The inflatable appeared to have been completely overridden by the other vessel.”

Mr Card added that it appeared the inflatable was “run over” and that there were “blue scuff marks” from the hull of the other vessel.

Jerome Lynch, defence counsel for Mr Lake, outlined a scenario where a boat approached two others from behind, one on the right with a light and one on the left without.

Mr Lynch suggested the boat veered to avoid collision with the lit vessel but hit the unlit boat on the left and asked what the evidence of the crash might be.

Mr Card agreed that the scenario would be consistent with the markings found.

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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