Closing arguments were presented Tuesday in P.E.I. Supreme Court in the trial of a Charlottetown man accused of operating a Sea-Doo in a manner that was dangerous to the public.
James Frederick Wilson was charged following an incident in August of last year in which the Sea-Doo he was driving struck an inflatable watercraft carrying two teens.
The watercraft he struck was making its way to the Charlottetown Yacht Club from Holland Cove.
Crown Counsel Lisa Goulden recounted the testimony of RCMP Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair, an experienced sailor who witnessed the events of the day from the deck of his powerboat.
LeClair, she said, saw the Sea-Doo leave the water as Wilson attempted to jump the wake of his (LeClair's) boat.
LeClair saw Wilson fall off the Sea-Doo when it touched back down and saw the Sea-Doo continue on without him.
Goulden said that Sea-Doo shot forward like a 1,000-pound missile, striking the inflatable carrying the two teens and sending one of them eight feet into the air.
Goulden described Wilson's actions that day as basically a thrill-seeking stunt that placed other people in jeopardy.
"There is no other purpose to this stunt than thrill seeking," Goulden said.
She said a reasonable person would have performed an assessment of the risks before attempting a stunt like that and would have taken steps to avoid those risks.
Wilson did not do that, she said.
By failing to do so he put the safety of others at risk, she suggested.
Brendan Hubley, Wilson's defence counsel, raised questions about the varying estimates provided by Crown witnesses with relation to the distances between the various vessels that day and the speed at which they were traveling.
Hubley also raised questions of law with regards to what constitutes dangerous driving and what constitutes a reasonable standard of care for someone operating a vessel at sea.
He addressed the question of what constitutes a marked departure from the norm.
During the morning Wilson took the stand in his own defence,
He testified that he and his friend had gone out that day on their Sea-Doos to have some fun jumping the waves and jumping the wakes of other vessels.
He said he was traveling about 100 feet behind LeClair's powerboat when he decided to jump his wake and that he never saw the inflatable with the two teens on board that was motoring close to it.
He said he was going 50 kilometres an hour at the time, 25-30 kilometres slower than LeClair testified he (Wilson) was traveling.
Wilson said when his Sea-Doo came back down after jumping LeClair's wake, the impact threw him off the Sea-Doo and into the water and he didn't see what happened next.
He said his friend picked up the teen who'd been bounced off the inflatable and transported her on his Sea-Doo to LeClair's boat, then came back for Wilson and brought him to his Sea-Doo.
During cross-examination Wilson conceded that jumping wakes was a stunt.
He also conceded that it was his intent to get airborne that day when he jumped the wake and that he had no control over his Sea-Doo when it became airborne.
Goulden questioned Wilson's knowledge of safe boating practices and his familiarity with relevant regulations and procedures.
In particular she asked him if he'd read a section that cautioned against crossing the wakes of other vessels and pointed to the dangerous situations that can unfold when people misjudge speed and distance.
Wilson didn't recall whether he had ever read that section or not.
Goulden also questioned Wilson's familiarity with his own Sea-Doo, which he'd purchased only two months previously and had only driven 10 to 15 times before.
Questioned as to whether he saw a problem with getting as close as he'd gotten to a larger vessel with a Sea-Doo, Wilson said he'd never seen that as a problem.
Asked if he thought he was taking a risk when he jumped boat wakes he conceded that it was a risk.
A friend of Wilson's who was with him on the water that day on another Sea-Doo testified that they were traveling at about 50km/h and that he, like Wilson, never saw the inflatable in the water before Wilson's Sea-Doo struck it.
Steve MacDougall said he'd picked the teenage girl out of the water who'd been in the inflatable and brought her to LeClair's powerboat. He then picked up Wilson.
MacDougall said he'd never seen a Sea-Doo do what Wilson's Sea-Doo did that day.
He said they usually stop very quickly when a rider falls off because of their electronic braking system.
During cross-examination MacDougall was questioned about his knowledge of good seamanship practices and the need to insure the safety of others.
He too admitted that he liked to jump waves and wakes in his Sea-Doo.
Justice Benjamin Taylor will issue a written decision on the case.