News

Linda O'Leary, Kevin O'Leary's Wife, Won’t Go to Jail in Fatal Boat Crash

The maximum penalty for Linda O’Leary is $10,000—prosecutors misinterpreted the law when they initially said she could go to prison.
October 11, 2019, 3:39pm
Linda and Kevin O'Leary
Linda and Kevin O'Leary at a fundraiser in New York. Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Linda O’Leary, the wife of reality TV millionaire Kevin O’Leary, will not be spending time behind bars for her role in a fatal boat crash this summer, Canada’s prosecution authority announced. Instead she faces a maximum fine of $10,000.

Last month O’Leary was charged for her alleged role in a boat crash that killed two people on Lake Joseph in the Muskokas. The prosecution authority initially said she would face up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. But it turns out those are the rules for a commercial vehicle, not a small pleasure craft, which is what was involved in the collision.

In an email to VICE, Public Prosecution Service of Canada spokesperson Melanie Houle said, “After careful review of the Act, the Crown determined that the PPSC’s initial position on maximum allowable penalties was not accurate.”

O’Leary’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, has maintained that the national prosecutor’s first interpretation of the law was not correct. As reported in the Ottawa Citizen, he was critical of how long it took the PPSC to announce the new information. Greenspan did not respond to a request for comment.

On August 24, near midnight, two boats collided on Lake Joseph, where many of Canada’s wealthiest have summer homes and cottages. Linda O’Leary is said to have been driving one of the boats, on which her husband Kevin was also aboard. Two passengers on the other boat, 64-year-old Gary Poltash and Susanne Brito, 48, were killed in the collision.

Richard Ruh, 67, the driver of the boat that Poltash and Brito were on, has been charged with failing to exhibit the stern light on his vessel, which carries a fine of $150. He is reportedly fighting the charge.

After the incident, Kevin O’Leary said the other vessel “fled the scene,” which contradicted what police said. He also claimed that the other vehicle didn’t have its navigation lights on at the time of the crash.

Linda O’Leary is scheduled to appear in court on October 29.

Follow Anne Gaviola on Twitter.