Plea delayed for man charged with crashing into Bay of Islands ferry

Outside the Auckland District Court on Albert Street.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

A man charged with piloting a boat that crashed into a crowded ferry in Bay of Islands last year has been given another two weeks to decide his plea.

The 48-year-old man made his first appearance in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday morning, two months after his original December court date was deferred.

He was accused of driving the powerboat that crashed into the Waitere, better known as the Blue Ferry, in Russell in April 2023.

The boat, which was built in 1944, was damaged beyond repair and 77-year-old owner and skipper Bill Elliott suffered life-threatening head and spinal injuries.

At least one of the many tourists on board was flung into the water, but none were hurt.

The man is accused of piloting a high-powered, US-built Boston Whaler sports fishing boat fitted with twin 300-horespower outboard motors.

Community Magistrate Rosemary Fitzpatrick adjourned the man’s case to the 26 February, when his lawyer indicated he would be ready to enter a plea.

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