Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary on Wednesday appeared before a Canadian court to testify in his wife Linda O'Leary's criminal trial in connection to a fatal August 2019 boat crash. Linda is currently facing a charge of careless operation of a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act for driving at an unsafe speed, which she pleaded not guilty to, after she was revealed to be the driver of the Cobalt boat that crashed into the Super Air Nautique carrying 12 passengers on Lake Joseph. The crash left 64-year-old Florida resident Gary Poltash and 48-year-old Susanne Brito of Ontario dead.
After the court previously heard testimony from a police officer who said Linda registered an "alert range" level of blood alcohol on a breath test taken just after the crash and admitted to having consumed one drink after the collision, O'Leary testified on Wednesday that he did not recall his wife's alcohol consumption. According to CTV News, the businessman recounted the hours before the fatal collision, telling the court that he and his wife had been at a dinner party at a cottage near Lake Joseph before the accident. At the gathering, wine was served at 2 p.m. lunch followed by cocktails being served at the dinner party, which began at 7 p.m.
According to O'Leary, who testified that he consumed alcohol, it had been decided that afternoon that Linda would be the group's designated driver and "she knows if she's the designated driver, she's got to be very conscious about consuming alcohol." However, O'Leary said he was unable to remember if his wife consumed any alcohol prior to the crash, explaining that while she "might have" had a single drink, it was "probably a watered-down one because she was (the designated driver)."
During his testimony, O'Leary also recalled the moment of the collision itself, reiterating his previous statements that the other vessel was "invisible" until moments before impact due to the other boat had no navigation light on. Asked by Linda's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, "Did you see any lights before the collision?" O'Leary told the court, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You have to work very hard to make a boat that size be that dark." The Daily Mail reports the Shark Tank star said it was as though "it had a shroud on it or something” and added there was “zero light" from the other boat until after the collision. Richard Ruh, the driver of the second vessel, has been charged with failure to exhibit a navigation light.
After she was charged in connection to the collision, it was reported that Linda could face a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. However, Canada's prosecution authority later announced she only faced a fine of $10,000.