‘Linda O’Leary was not impaired’ during fatal boat crash, says defence lawyer

A lawyer for Linda O’Leary, the wife of celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary, says his client was not impaired when she got involved in a boat crash on an Ontario lake that left two people dead.

Recently unsealed court documents allege Linda O’Leary had alcohol on her breath the morning after the boat she was driving collided with another vessel around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 24. on Lake Joseph.

Search warrant documents filed by Ontario Provincial Police say Linda O’Leary told police she had consumed alcohol after the crash, but before the breath test was administered on the morning of Aug. 25.

Linda O’Leary’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, says in a statement that the ”tragic accident had nothing to do with alcohol.”

Two people were killed and three others were injured in the collision.

Linda O’Leary faces one charge of careless operation of a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act, while the operator of the other boat, Richard Ruh, of Orchard Park, N.Y., faces one charge of failing to exhibit a navigation light while underway.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

“Linda O’Leary was not impaired; she is a highly experienced boater who was proceeding cautiously with due care and attention,” Greenspan said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

“She collided with a totally unlit boat on a moonless night which was invisible to any prudent operator. No one could have avoided the collision.”

The court documents also say that security camera footage from nearby cottages shows the other boat, which was adrift without its engine on and carried 12 people who were out to look at stars, did not have its navigational lights on.

OPP officers filed the search warrants with court in Parry Sound, Ont., as they sought to seize and investigate O’Leary’s boat and seize a digital video recorder from his cottage.

Det. Ronald Marshall wrote in the search warrant that another officer went to the O’Learys’ cottage shortly after the crash, following a 911 call that the couple had been involved in a boating accident and were injured.

“(Linda) O’Leary registered an alert and was given a three-day driving suspension,” Marshall wrote in the warrant documents.

“O’Leary claimed that she had consumed alcohol following the collision and after returning home.”

Gary Poltash, 64, from Florida died at the scene, while Suzana Brito, 48, from Uxbridge, Ont., died in hospital a few days later.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2019.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

O'Leary wife charged

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