Perth Skipper Convicted of Illegally Selling Alcohol on a Cruise Linked to Man's Death

By ,   December 22, 2016 ,   Accidents

The former skipper and owner of a Perth charter boat was convicted of illegally selling booze on a cruise linked to the peculiar death of a man.

31-year-old Daniel Lippiatt and his company Dolphin Dive were hired in October 2014 by home loan company Pepper to take around 30 mortgage brokers on a 7-hour cruise from Fremantle to Rottnest.

The body of one of the passengers, Damien Mills, was found off Leighton Beach the next day, and his family alleges he fell overboard during the cruise.

Lippiatt was charged with unlawfully selling two cartons of beer to the passengers.

He maintained he provided the beer as a gift, however he and his company have been found guilty of three charges, including allowing the boat to be used as "a resort for the consumption of alcohol".

Magistrate Martin Flynn ruled that after a particular type of beer started running out, Lippiatt agreed with one of the home loan company's employees to provide the cartons in return for money from a security deposit.

Passengers testified that people became "inebriated" as the cruise progressed, and Magistrate Flynn said he was satisfied the some of the men on board were drunk.

However, he said he accepted Lippiatt's concern was for the "physical safety" of the passengers and that the amount of alcohol provided was small.

Magistrate Flynn imposed a total fine of $6,500 but granted Lippiatt a spent conviction, meaning he does not have to disclose it to anyone.

Lippiatt's lawyer Darren Jones told the court Lippiatt was no longer in the cruise business as a result of events from that day, and had sold the three boats he owned.

Mr Jones said the recording of a conviction would jeopardise his client's voluntary work as a paramedic, and also revealed Lippiatt was being sued by Mr Mills' family.

Outside the court, Mr Mills' father-in-law Jim Irvine said an inquest into the death was due to be held in mid-2017.

He said he and other members of the family had attended Lippiatt's trial to try to find answers about his son-in-law's death.

Mr Irvine said nobody from the charter boat company had ever contacted the family, and Mr Mills' wife Nicole was still suffering.