9 Oct 2012

Skipper's widow charged over Easy Rider sinking

8:47 pm on 9 October 2012

The widow of the Easy Rider skipper is facing five charges after the boat capsized and eight people lost their lives.

The fishing vessel went down in Foveaux Strait, off Stewart Island, on 15 March this year.

Dallas Reedy survived the sinking. The bodies of four people were recovered, but the other four, including a child, were never found.

Gloria Davis is the sole director of the company, AZ1 Enterprises, which owned the Easy Rider. She is charged with allowing the boat to operate knowing that her husband Rewai Karetai did not have a current skipper's certificate.

Ms Davis is also charged with not taking all steps necessary to ensure the safety of those on board. AZ1 Enterprises is charged with five similar offences.

The charges were laid under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, the Transport Act and the Crimes Act.

Barry Bethune, whose 23-year-old son, Shaun Bethune, died in the sinking says it is tragic that Gloria Davis is facing charges.

Mr Davis and the company were remanded by the registrar at the Invercargill District Court to 23 October.

Mr Karetai's aunt, Jill Karetai, says the family is meeting after being taken by surprise by the charges. She says they have not heard from Maritime New Zealand.