Prosecutors: Linda O'Leary won't face jail time if convicted in deadly boat crash
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Friday, October 11, 2019 11:19AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 11, 2019 12:38PM EDT
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada has confirmed that $10,000 is the maximum penalty Linda O’Leary could face in connection with a deadly boat crash last summer.
Last month, O’Leary, the wife of celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary, was charged with careless operation of a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act in connection with a boat crash in Muskoka that left two people dead.
Ontario Provincial Police previously said she could face a sentence of up to 18 months in jail or a fine of up to $1 million if convicted, but prosecutors confirmed Friday that this is not the case.
“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,” the PPSC said in an email on Friday.
On the night of Aug. 24, the boat O’Leary was driving collided with another watercraft on Lake Joseph, killing 64-year-old man Florida man Gary Poltash and 48-year-old Uxbridge resident Susanne Brito.
The driver of the other boat, 57-year-old New York resident Richard Ruh, has been charged with one count of failing to exhibit a navigation light under Sec. 23 of the Canada Shipping Act.
Speaking to reporters last month, O’Leary’s lawyer Brian Greenspan called it “regrettable” that police decided to charge his client.
He referred to O’Leary as a “cautious" and "experienced boater" who collided with an unlit watercraft on a "dark and moonless night.”
He told CP24 on Friday the earlier interpretation of the Small Vessel Regulations, where his client was understood to be facing jail time, caused "a great deal of hardship and stress in circumstances where" the wrong interpretation of the statute was being used.
"I was correct from the very first moment and finally they conceded they were wrong," Greenspan said.
O’Leary’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 29.