Preliminary inquiry starts in fishing boat collision that killed 2 men

·1 min read

A preliminary inquiry is underway Tuesday in Georgetown court for a man charged in a fishing boat collision that killed two people.

Clarence Barry White, 52, is charged with criminal negligence causing death.

White was involved in the collision of two fishing boats off Beach Point in June of 2018 that left Justin MacKay and Chris Melanson dead.

The preliminary inquiry will determine if evidence against White is sufficient to take the criminal charges to trial. Chief Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr is hearing arguments from lawyers Tuesday and Wednesday.

The criminal charges will be transferred to P.E.I. Supreme Court, if Orr finds there's enough evidence to justify a trial.

An investigation by the Transportation Safety Board concluded that the fishing boat Forever Chasin' Tail was on automatic pilot when it crashed into a second fishing boat, Joel '98.

The TSB report found that the two crews noticed they were about to collide, but did not have time to avoid a crash.

MacKay, 20, and Melanson, 59, were on Joel '98. Three others on that boat managed to climb aboard Forever Chasin' Tail before their boat sank.

White is also charged with offences under the Canada Shipping Act. A seven-day trial on those charges is slated to begin Dec. 8 in Georgetown.

More from CBC P.E.I.