Karim Khalil QC Secures Acquittal For Director Of Yachting Firm Charged With Manslaughter

26 April 2018

Following a highly publicised trial at Winchester Crown Court, Karim Khalil QC secured the acquittal of Douglas Innes, the director of a yacht management company, charged with the manslaughter of four men who died when their vessel capsized in the Atlantic. The court was told that when the yacht encountered treacherous conditions on the 15th May 2014 the crew sent Mr Innes an urgent email stating their vessel was taking on water in bad weather. The yacht emailed: “We have been taking on a lot of water yesterday and today. Today seems worse.” By now the boat was being struck by waves of almost five metres high and force seven winds. It was 1,000 miles off the US coast.

Mr Innes replied advising the sailors to make sure the life raft was ready and later phoned the UK Coastguard, but the prosecution argued he had not shown any urgency in assisting them and furthermore there had been issues with the way the yacht had been maintained by Mr Innes company, Stormforce coaching. The yacht was found overturned and empty on 17th May, two days after the email was sent, with its life raft still on board. After deliberation, the jury unanimously found Mr Innes not guilty of manslaughter. For more information see press links below.

1. ITV
2. BBC
3. The Guardian
4. The Daily Mail
5. The Sun