By Charlie Coë For Daily Mail Australia
A deckhand who had drunken sex with the skipper of a luxury motor yacht before the unmanned boat crashed and caused $140,000 (£73,700) of damage has pleaded guilty to negligence.
Cheya Handley, 26, had been working as a deckhand aboard the 80-foot Crystal Blue when she began drinking alcohol and having sex with Jeremy ‘JJ’ Piggott, 46, on the bow of the boat.
Southport Magistrates Court was told how the unmanned boat then collided with a channel marker and a moored yacht as Mr Piggot attempted to steer the vessel using a remote control, ABC reported.
It was also said the skipper, who was returning the charter boat from Brisbane to the Gold Coast on March 3 last year, adjusted one of the boat’s CCTV cameras so the pair would not be caught in the act.
Cheya Handley, 26, (pictured) had drunken sex with the skipper of the Crystal Blue luxury yacht on March 3 last year – which crashed and suffered $140,000 worth of damage while they were in the act
Crystal Blue suffered $140,000 worth of damage after it collided with a channel beacon as well as two boats before running aground
The Crystal Blue, which suffered $140,000 (£73,700) worth of damage in the incident, then collided with a channel marker at Long Island at about 11.20pm before crashing into a moored yacht in the Gold Coast’s north at Steiglitz, the court heard.The luxury boat then nearly hit another vessel further south at Jacobs Well before finally running aground, 7News reported.
On Tuesday, Cheya Handley pleaded guilty to one count of risking the safety of a person or vessel.
David Funch, defending, said the deckhand had been promoted at Crystal Blue in the 18-months since the incident. She grew up on a houseboat and hopes to one day join Border Force, he said.
He also asked the court to consider the power imbalance between a skipper and a deckhand. Mr Funch said: ‘When the master of a vessel tells you to jump, you ask how high’.
It was added that no damage was sustained to the boat within the ten minutes Handley was admitting negligence.
In an interview played at Southport Magistrates Court on Monday, Handley acknowledged her mistake to a maritime safety inspector.
Cheya Handley (pictured right outside court) told a maritime safety inspector she ‘should have known better’, a court heard
Crystal Blue can be rented for journeys along the Gold Coast and is hired out for $1690 an hour
‘Yeah, I did the wrong thing, drinking on the job. I should have known better, I screwed up big time,’ she said. ‘We were chatting, laying down, looking at the stars and then got it on.’
Piggott had already pleaded guilty to two counts of recklessly contravening his duty to ensure the safety of vessels.
He was fined $4000 (£2100) and put on a good behaviour bond for two years.
Ms Handley was placed on a $1000 (£526) good behaviour bond for six months and no conviction was recorded.
She is understood to do stunt work at Japan’s Universal Studios, as well as her job as a luxury yacht stewardess.
Crystal Blue can be hired for $1690 (£890) an hour for a chartered journey on the Gold Coast, according to the vessel’s website.
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