BSAC are helping a member in need who is being extradited to Malta for two accidental deaths of his friend and a loved one simply because he was diving with them and he is an Instructor. In July 2014 Stephen Martin was diving with his partner Larissa and friends when she and one of her rescuers died but now Maltese authorities are trying to extradite Stephen and charge him with two counts of involuntary homicide for being ‘negligent in his obligations’.
The BSAC Council have met at a special meeting and have generously decided to help Stephen with up to £100,000 for his legal fees. BSAC are in no way liable but still want to help their member by allocating club funds to his legal defence. BSAC didn’t want to release an official statement before fully discussing with Stephen, insurers and legal advisers but now have confirming their support. In their statement BSAC regret the time it has taken to release details on their support and promise to do better in the future for similar cases.
On the dive in question Stephen’s buddy and long-term partner Larissa unexpectedly descended towards the end of the dive from 15m down to below 30m by herself which caused two other divers from the group to swim after her out of concern. The two divers raised Larissa who was unresponsive from below 30m to the surface while Stephen helped and a nearby doctor performed CPR on the shore. Larissa was found to be dead on the shore and one of Stephen’s friend that aided in the rescue suffered from a lung over expansion injury and later died from his injury. Both deaths were found to be accidental at an inquest in June 2014, with both divers suffering from Pulmonary Oedemas, however the Maltese authorities are still pushing for an extradition which a Westminster Judge has approved but Stephen is appealing against the extradition and the claims of negligence.
Despite the horrible circumstances it’s nice to know that BSAC are willing to go out of their way to help one of their members in need. With the legal system as it is though I can imagine £100,000 will only pay for a good lawyer for a short time so maybe the dive community can somehow come together to raise funds to further aid Stephen’s cause.