Top News

UPDATE: P.E.I. man involved in fatal watercraft collision fined

A row of Sea-doos is shown at the Charlottetown Marina, where a collision in 2018 led to the death of 21-year-old Carter Wood. Facebook.com/Flyboardmaritimes.
A row of Sea-doos is shown at the Charlottetown Marina, where a collision in 2018 led to the death of 21-year-old Carter Wood. Facebook.com/Flyboardmaritimes. - Contributed

Morgan Arnold MacLeod and friends rented Sea-Doos, weren’t given safety instructions

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A P.E.I. man who was riding a rented Sea-Doo in Charlottetown’s harbour during a fatal collision that killed his friend was fined $7,000 Monday for a violation of the Canada Shipping Act.

Morgan Arnold MacLeod, 23, appeared before Justice Jacqueline Matheson in P.E.I. Supreme Court where a four-day trial was scheduled on a charge of dangerous operation of a vessel.

Instead, MacLeod entered a guilty plea to operating a vessel in a careless manner in contravention of the Canada Shipping Act’s small vessel regulations.

That offence has a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine.

The guilty plea means MacLeod won’t have a criminal conviction on his record.

During Monday’s proceedings, the court heard details of the incident that led to Carter Wood’s death on Aug. 12, 2018 after a group of friends decided to rent Seadoos from a business on Charlottetown’s waterfront.

Wood and MacLeod were described in court as being the “best of friends.”

Crown attorney Lisa Goulden told the court P.E.I. Seadoo Rentals employees didn’t review a safety checklist with the group or have them sign one, despite it being required by law.

Fly Board Maritimes operates P.E.I. Seadoo Rentals.

The court heard the employees gave the friends, who had little or no experience operating Sea-Doos, basic instructions on how to use them.

Under the Canada Shipping Act, businesses that rent pleasure crafts aren’t allowed to let anyone operate them unless they completed and signed a safety checklist with the rental company.

Goulden told the court the business gave MacLeod an “unrestricted” key for the Seadoo he was riding, which allowed it to accelerate faster than with a beginner key that is usually given to people renting the machines.

MacLeod wasn’t told he had an unrestricted key or that the machine’s braking system had been removed.

The court heard the friends were at times making waves, splashing and making loops around each other while they were on the water.

It was around 6 p.m. when MacLeod tried to make a wave to splash two of the friends who were on another Sea-Doo.

Goulden said MacLeod and Wood, who was riding a machine nearby, didn’t see each other and collided.

Wood was wearing a floatation device but ended up lying face down in the water until his friends came to his aid and struggled to get him onto the back of one of the Sea-Doos.

Eventually more help came and several people made unsuccessful efforts to resuscitate Wood, who was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

A coroner determined the cause of death was drowning.

The court heard drugs and alcohol were not involved in the collision.  

In her submissions, Goulden told the court Wood’s mother, who raised him as a single parent, said she didn’t know how to put her words down for a victim impact statement.
Goulden said Wood was the woman’s only child.

“She has and will continue to grieve.”

About 30 people were in court to hear the sentencing Monday, but Wood’s mother was not among them.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Coady told the court in his submissions that it was a very sad and difficult situation for everyone involved.

MacLeod was given the opportunity but declined to address the court.

As Matheson gave her decision on the sentence, she said MacLeod’s behaviour could be classified as reckless, adding that the tragic outcome didn’t make it criminal.

With the $7,000 fine, Matheson accepted a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence.


Twitter.com/ryanrross 


RELATED: 

Recent Stories