17 Aug 2009

Company accused of failing to ensure tourist's safety

7:59 pm on 17 August 2009

A river boarding company being prosecuted over the death of a British tourist failed to take all steps necessary to safeguard clients and employees, a Queenstown court has been told.

Maritime New Zealand is prosecuting Mad Dog River Boarding and director Brad McLeod after British tourist Emily Jordan drowned during one of its trips on the Kawarau River in April 2008.

Prosecutor Brent Stanaway told the Queenstown District Court on Monday that Mad Dog River Boarding did not carry throw bags and ropes, as they considered them a hazard.

Mr Stanaway said the company failed to communicate to its clients the dangers of being trapped by rocks and how to escape from them quickly.

He told the court the trip was conducted when the river was unusually low and that contributed to Ms Jordan's death.

Brad McLeod and his company deny three charges brought under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, each of which carry a potential penalty of $250,000.