Top News

Newfoundland skipper tried to throw woman overboard during fishing trip: judge

The Parole Board of Canada has revoked the statutory release of a Windsor man.
A man who tried to throw his girlfriend off his fishing vessel has been convicted of criminal charges in Corner Broook. — Stock photo

Trent John White was convicted of criminal charges in Corner Brook court last week

A Corner Brook judge has convicted the skipper of a commercial fishing vessel of criminal charges, after the man tried to throw a female crew member overboard while at sea last year.

Trent John White was convicted of aggravated assault, assault and damage to property in connection with incidents that occurred while he was skipper of a vessel participating in the 2017 turbot fishery.

The 65-foot vessel had left Rocky Harbour for the Labrador Sea near Red Bay to take part in the fishery that summer. It was in the Strait of Belle Isle that White tried to throw the woman — who was also his girlfriend — overboard.

The men said they ran to the back of the vessel and saw the woman hanging head first over the side, White standing close to her. One of the men told the court he saw White let the woman go when they arrived.

Two other crew members who testified at White’s trial told the court they were in the wheelhouse when they heard the woman yelling; one of the men described it as a “desperate scream for help.”

The men said they ran to the back of the vessel and saw the woman hanging head first over the side, White standing close to her. One of the men told the court he saw White let the woman go when they arrived.

“(She) was over the side of the boat with her fist grabbed — her hand grabbed around the fish trays, and one leg was still in over the boat. So immediately we just grabbed (her) and hauled her back in over,” the man testified.

Seas very rough

The other man told the court if the woman had been thrown into the water, she would not have been able to be rescued, since the sea was rough at the time. He said after the woman was safely back aboard, White lay on the deck in a fetal position and told her she would end up that way if she kept “jonesing for drugs.”

The court heard the pair had argued consistently throughout the trip over the woman’s alleged use of opiate painkillers.

A third crewman testified he heard White ask one of the others to throw the woman overboard.

On another day, while near the entrance to Cook’s Harbour, White threw the woman’s cellphone into the ocean.

White also took the stand at trial and acknowledged throwing the woman’s phone overboard, but denied assaulting her during the trip.

“When asked in direct examination whether (the woman) had been hanging off the vessel or had one leg over the vessel’s side, Mr. White indicated to his counsel that he ‘should ask’ (the woman) that question,” Judge Wayne Gorman said in his written decision. “Mr. White then indicated that he ‘did not try to throw her overboard,’ but that if he ‘wanted to throw her overboard, she would have been overboard.’ Subsequently, in cross-examination, Mr. White testified that he could ‘not recall’ if (the woman) was hanging on to the side of the vessel at any time during the fishing trip.”

“Mr. White testified that he could ‘not recall’ asking anyone to throw (the woman) overboard. He indicated that if he said this, he ‘should not have said it.’ He explained his poor memory by indicating that it was ‘over a year ago.”
Judge Wayne Gorman decision

White could also not recall the woman screaming for help or the two other crew members rescuing her.

“Mr. White testified that he could ‘not recall’ asking anyone to throw (the woman) overboard. He indicated that if he said this, he ‘should not have said it.’ He explained his poor memory by indicating that it was ‘over a year ago,” Gorman wrote.

Evidence disingenuous

Gorman said he found White’s evidence to be purposely disingenuous, at times dishonest, as well as unreliable, incredible and fanciful.

“Mr. White was not suggesting that he could not recall minor occurrences during the fishing trip. He claimed that he could not recall the most significant incidences which occurred, such as whether (the woman) almost ended up overboard and whether she had to be rescued by (her crewmates), the judge wrote. “Mr. White could not have forgotten those things. I conclude that he was using the words ‘I do not recall’ so that he could not be asked to explain how she ended up in the position described by (the other crew mates).”

Gorman acknowledged there was no one who had seen White try to throw the woman overboard, but said he was satisfied by the fact White was standing behind her and letting go of her and did not attempt to help her that he was guilty.

“The evidence also establishes that it would have been objectively foreseeable that (the woman’s) life was being endangered, considering the location and nature of the sea,” Gorman wrote.

White will be sentenced in Corner Brook at a later date.

telegram@thetelegram.com


On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend The Telegram?


Recent Stories