Defence Force pleads guilty over death of sailor at Devonport Naval Base

11:42 am on 21 July 2020

The Defence Force has pleaded guilty to a charge laid over the death of a sailor after a diving training exercise.

Devonport Naval Base

The Devonport Naval Base on Auckland's North Shore. Photo: RNZ

Zachary Yarwood died in hospital after a night-time dive at the Devonport Naval Base in March last year.

Able Communications Technician Zachary Christopher Yarwood died after an incident during a navy dive training exercise.

Zachary Yarwood. Photo: Supplied

The 23-year-old had been diving in about six to eight metres of water during advanced dive training before he died.

WorkSafe later charged the Defence Force under the Health and Safety Act, alleging it failed to ensure the safety of its employees.

This morning, the Defence Force pleaded guilty to one representative charge before Judge Ajit Swaran Singh at the Auckland District Court.

Yarwood's family were in court to hear the guilty plea and indicated they wished to speak through victim impact statements at sentencing.

The Defence Force will be sentenced later this year.