3 Sep 2012

Judge to deliver Pacifc Blue verdict in October

5:45 pm on 3 September 2012

A Pacific Blue pilot charged with carelessly operating an aircraft will have to wait until October to learn his fate.

The prosecution and defence have finished summing up in the case where it is alleged the 54-year-old man took off in near-darkness from Queenstown.

The pilot, who has name suppression, denies carelessly operating the plane after it took off from the South Island resort town bound for Sydney on 22 June 2010.

The Crown says the pilot took off after the daylight curfew. He faces a $7000 fine and could have his licence revoked for 12 months.

Prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch told the court on Monday aviation is a business of prescription and parameters and the pilot chose to interpret the rules in his own way, endangering the lives of 70 passengers and crew.

Defence Lawyer Matthew Muir told the court it is not a criminal matter, but should have been dealt with internally by Pacific Blue because it was caused by their own contradictory manuals.

Judge Kevin Phillips will deliver his verdict in October.