POLITICS

B.C. ferry navigator convicted of negligence turns to Supreme Court of Canada

03/02/2015 01:53 EST | Updated 05/02/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - A former ferry navigator who was convicted of criminal negligence in a fatal sinking off the British Columbia coast is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to review his case.

Karl Lilgert was convicted of two counts of criminal negligence causing death and sentenced to four years for his role in the 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North. He is currently in prison serving his sentence.

The ferry struck an island and sank during an overnight voyage from northern B.C. to Vancouver Island, killing passengers Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette.

Lilgert asked the B.C. Court of Appeal to overturn his conviction because of alleged errors in the judge's instructions to the jury, but the province's highest court rejected his appeal.

Lilgert's lawyer, Glen Orris, said in an interview Monday that he plans to argue in the appeal that the trial judge gave incorrect instructions to the jury when explaining the offence of criminal negligence. He argues the B.C. Court of Appeal then made a mistake when it failed to correct that error.

Orris said the trial judge should have also told the jury to consider whether Lilgert's actions were caused by a reasonable but mistaken understanding of the facts — namely, his claims that be believed the ship was on the correct course.

The Crown's theory at trial was that Lilgert missed a scheduled turn and sailed into a remote island because he was distracted by his ex-lover, who was on the bridge with him that night.

Lilgert, who testified in his own defence, insisted he was trying his best to navigate the ship in difficult conditions, though he couldn't explain why the vessel sank.