Russell William Cochrane

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
4 November 2014
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$0

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Ensure that a briefing is provided in a language the participants can understand, if this is not possible then the provider should refuse to allow the dive;
  2. Carry out a safety review test;
  3. Ensure a documented dive safety log is in place for each diving course with appropriate coordinates and current weather and tide information;
  4. Confirm each diving course with the Coast Guard;
  5. Provide high visibility dive equipment;
  6. Ensure participants use correctly fitting dive equipment; and
  7. Provide appropriate and direct supervision.

Defendant name:
Russell William Cochrane
 
Industry:
Arts and recreation
 
Date of offence:
4 November 2014
 
Facts in brief:
The victim participated in a PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course provided and run by the Defendants in open water near Hahei Beach.

The victim rented scuba equipment from the Defendants which included a buoyancy compensator device (BCD) that was too large. The victim was Taiwanese and was unable to understand English, the training and instruction she received was provided in English only.

The victim (a person with no diving training or experience) was not adequately supervised while wearing the scuba equipment in the water. The victim swam out of an enclosed bay area exhausted their air supply and drowned. The ill-fitting BCD contributed to the victim’s death, making it more difficult to lift their head out of the water when the air supply had been exhausted.

When it became apparent that the victim was missing the overall process to search for her and call for emergency assistance was too slow. The Defendants also failed to provide emergency services with accurate coordinates of the dive site.

 
Related prosecutions:
 
Offence section:
Sections 15, 50(1)(a) and 56(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Hamilton - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$0
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$70,000 (both Defendants jointly and severally liable)