Ship’s Navigator Sentenced to Four Years for Criminal Negligence

A B.C. ship’s navigator has been sentenced to four years after he was convicted of criminal negligence causing death for dereliction of duty leading to his ship colliding with an island.

According to The Globe and Mail, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein, in sentencing Karl Lilgert after a jury found him guilty, said that Mr. Lilgert’s relationship with a female crew member of the ship, Queen of the North, led to the collision.

The judge called Mr. Lilgert’s failure to make a course correction “an extreme and catastrophic dereliction of his duty”.  She stated that the collision occurred while Mr. Lilgert was working alone on the bridge with his former lover, who worked on the ship, for the first time since they had ended a relationship.  The judge said that Mr. Lilgert had been distracted by personal issues relating to their relationship.

Two passengers on board – a couple – have not been seen since the ship went down, and were presumed to have died.

The case is another example of a worker being convicted criminally for workplace negligence – not for intentionally doing something unsafe, but rather for not doing something that he should have done.  Mr. Lilgert has appealed.


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Adrian Miedema

About Adrian Miedema

Adrian is a partner in the Toronto Employment group of Dentons Canada LLP. He advises and represents public- and private-sector employers in employment, health and safety and human rights matters. He appears before employment tribunals and all levels of the Ontario courts on behalf of employers. He also advises employers on strategic and risk management considerations in employment policy and contracts.

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