Twelve jurors are receiving instructions in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, before retiring to deliberate whether Karl-Heinz Lilgert, the officer in charge of the Queen of the North when it struck Gil Island, is guilty or not on two counts of criminal negligence causing death.
Lilgert was responsible for navigating the ferry when it went off course and hit land at around 12:21 a.m. PT on March 22, 2006. It is believed two people — Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette — died when the ship sank to the bottom of Wright Sound.
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Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein instructed the jury Monday not to use the fact that Lilgert had an affair with another crewmember as evidence of his character or disposition.Strike site at Gil Island (source: RCMP dive team)
On Thursday, Lilgert's defense said he had been doing his job to the best of his ability the night the ship sank, and there was no evidence that he showed wanton disregard for the safety of the ship's crew and passengers.
In his closing arguments, defense Lawyer Glenn Orris said if Lilgert made a mistake, it was an honest mistake and not a crime. Orris asked the jury to let him get on with what was left of his shattered life.
On Friday, the court heard closing arguments from Crown lawyers, who said Lilgert's testimony of what led up to the sinking was "completely unbelievable, fabricated and concocted."
Crown prosecutor Robert Wright said the jury should ignore Lilgert's explanation of the moments before the ferry ran aground, as well as testimony from his former lover, quartermaster Karen Briker, who also testified Lilgert was actively navigating the ship.
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Wright pointed to electronic records that showed the ship did not alter course for twenty minutes before the crash, saying that showed that Lilgert was not doing his job.