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Yacht manager found not guilty in Cheeki Rafiki deaths

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Douglas Innes, the 43-year-old director of British yacht management company Stormforce Coaching Ltd., was acquitted Wednesday of manslaughter charges related to the May 2014 capsizing of the S/Y Cheeki Rafiki in a retrial of the case in Winchester Crown Court, The Guardian has reported.

Innes had faced four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence in the deaths of the yachts’ four crew members. The 40-foot boat had been on its way back to the U.K. from Antigua when it capsized more than 700 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia.

An earlier jury had convicted Innes and Stormforce Coaching Ltd. of failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner contrary to the Merchant Shipping Act, but was unable to return a verdict on the manslaughter charges, and a retrial was ordered. Innes and his company will be sentenced May 11 on the earlier conviction.

After finding Innes not guilty on the manslaughter charges, jurors in the retrial handed a note to the judge that read: “We are deeply concerned by the evidence we have heard about the regulations involved in this case. Pleasure and commercial regulations need to be clarified.”

Read the full story from The Guardian here.

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