Boating Under the Influence Fatality Update

Posted by Richard Lawson | Nov 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution just reported that a verdict has been returned in the trial of Mr. Paul Bennett, 45, of Cumming, Georgia and the boating accident he was involved in on June 18th of 2012 that killed two boys, Jake and Griffin Prince.  The boys died as a result of a collision that took place between Mr. Bennett's fishing boat and the pontoon boat that Jake and Griffin Prince and their families were operating on Lake Lanier last summer.

Mr. Bennett was acquitted on all 8 charges of Homicide by Vessel, but found guilty of Boating Under the Influence, Reckless Operation of a Vessel, and Failure to Render Aid.

Judge Katherine Gosselin sentenced Mr. Bennett to 30 months in prison, after which he will serve 18 months of probation, while performing 400 hours of community service.  His boating privileges in Georgia have been revoked and as part of his probation he must undergo drug and alcohol evaluations and treatment.

Defense counsel for Bennett held off the Prosecution's attempts to prove the homicide charges, but were unable to achieve the same result on the remaining ones.  The District Attorney and Mr. Bennett's defense counsel fought back and forth over each witnesses statements throughout the course of the trial.

The trial began with 12 jurors, but the panel was reduced to 11 when one of the jurors was removed for looking up details about the case online.

Jurors are instructed to avoid any attempts to gather outside information about the case and in this case, Judge Gosselin admonished them further by stating "You shall not consult dictionaries, reference materials, search the Internet websites or blogs," after removing the offending juror.

When asked if he would agree to the 11 member jury, Mr. Bennett acquiesced.  All felonies in Georgia are decided by 12 member juries.  Only the defendant, with the aid of his Hall County DUI Lawyer, could make the decision to waive having the 12th juror. 

If you have been charged with Boating Under the Influence or any other traffic related offense in Hall County or anywhere in North Georgia, contact the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson today at (404) 816-4440 to schedule your free consultation or use the Contact form on our website.

Richard is the AVVO top-ranked DUI defense attorney in Georgia and has been handling DUI, BUI and traffic offenses for almost 20 years as both prosecutor and defense attorney.  There is no better defense than hiring the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson.  Our North Georgia DUI lawyers are here to help when you need it most.

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Richard Lawson

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