Disgraced Queen of the North officer Karl Lilgert sentenced to 4 years
CTV British Columbia
Published Monday, June 24, 2013 10:26AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, June 24, 2013 8:36PM PDT
The disgraced B.C. ferry officer convicted in the deaths of two passengers aboard the Queen of the North has been sentenced to four years in jail.
Karl Lilgert is also banned from operating any vessel for 10 years.
The 59-year-old was found guilty for criminal negligence causing death in the disappearances of Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette. The two passengers vanished after the vessel struck the remote Gil Island and sank off the British Columbia coast in March 2006.
The Crown argued that Lilgert, who was in charge of the ship, failed in his duties to keep the ship on course as it missed a scheduled turn and sailed towards the island.
Lawyers alleged Lilgert was distracted by the presence of his former lover on the bridge. Quartermaster Karen Briker was alone with Lilgert at the time of the sinking. The couple had ended their relationship just weeks before the voyage.
B.C. Supreme Court Judge Sunni Stromberg-Stein said it’s clear the navigating officer’s relationship with Briker was a factor in the sinking.
The ferry officer testified he was navigating the ship the best he could in inclement weather, and was challenged by unreliable equipment.
Lawyers called on Lilgert to serve six years in prison for the incident, as well as a lifetime ban on operating a vessel.
Lilgert’s lawyers said he has suffered greatly since the sinking, and he has post-traumatic stress disorder. They asked for him to receive a conditional sentence.
He was terminated from BC Ferries following the incident, and became an organic farmer. Lilgert has been doing yoga to cope with the stress of the trial.
A total of 52 letters supporting his character were submitted to the court. Lilgert has no previous criminal record or driving infractions.
An appeal is already in the works.