Deckie’s guilty plea after yacht sex tryst
A YOUNG deckhand charged with negligence after drinking and having sex with the skipper of a luxury yacht which crashed and ran aground in the Gold Coast Broadwater has changed her plea to guilty.
Cheya Handley's decision came after a magistrate ruled that a damning interview in which she admitted to the acts could be used against her in court.
Southport Magistrates Court heard Handley - a Universal Studios stuntwoman and daughter of former Hollywood stuntman and martial arts champion Colin Handley - had sex with the married captain on the bow of the vessel Crystal Blue during a late night, booze-fuelled high-speed voyage from a charter in Brisbane where guests partied with topless waitresses in March last year.
Handley, 26, had pleaded not guilty in Southport Magistrates Court to two counts of risking the safety of a person or commercial vessel.
In a record of interview with Maritime Safety of Queensland inspector Steven Knowles, which was played to the court on Monday, Handley admitted to drinking and having sex with the skipper, Jeremy 'JJ' Piggott, 46, during the voyage from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.
The court heard the yacht was badly damaged when it hit a moored boat and a channel marker, ran aground and drifted in circles.
"I did the wrong thing drinking on the job," Handley said in the interview.
"I should have known better. I screwed up big-time."
Defence barrister David Funch argued that Handley was illegally induced into giving the interview, or that it was unfair, and sought to have it ruled as inadmissable.
But magistrate Andrew Sinclair today ruled that the interview was legally obtained and allowed it into evidence.
Handley then pleaded guilty and is now facing sentencing.
Prosecutor Jeff Hunter QC told the court that even though Handley was subordinate to Piggott , it should have been obvious to her that his actions were 'a disgraceful abrogation of his responsibilities'.
Piggott pleaded guilty to reckless conduct in August and was fined $4000.
Defence barrister David Funch told the court that Handley wanted to join the Australian Border Force and was 'terrified' at the prospect of a conviction.
He said the offence was a 'discreet' aberration lasting minutes, unlike Piggott's "eight-hour course of reckless conduct" .