Seven years after passenger Dianne Brimble died after ingesting a date rape drug aboard P & O Cruises’ Pacific Sky in 2002, the jury has finally retired to consider its verdict.
Australian citizen and fellow passenger Mark Wilhelm is accused of the manslaughter death of Ms. Brimble after he allegedly gave her the drug Gamma Hydroxybutyrate ("GHB") during a cruise aboard the Pacific Sky. In a previous article, I discussed that cruise passengers are at risk of rape after surreptitiously being given date rape drugs like GHB and Rohypnol.
Women have been drugged and raped on the Carnival subsidiary, sister brands – P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises. These cruise lines know there is a danger presented to passengers and crew of date rape drugs and sexual assault of unconscious women – but refuse to admit or discuss the problem in public.
Yesterday, the prosecution dropped its charges that that Mr. Wilhelm displayed gross criminal negligence by failing to summons assistance after after she passed out and was left on the floor of the cabin.
The jury is now left with the sole issue whether defendant Wilhelm committed a crime by supplying her with GHB, also known as the drug "fantasy." The coroner has already concluded that Ms. Brimble died after being given a toxic mix of alcohol and GHB.
Although Mr. Wilhelm is rightfully considered to be one of the unsavory "gang of eight" aboard the cruise ship, a guilty verdict may be difficult to obtain. His buddies obviously tried to cover for him during the five week trial. I previously reported that Wilhelm’s traveling mate Dragan Losic conveniently forgot facts which would incriminate Wilhelm. And one of the other sleazy gang-of-eight members Letterio Silvestri also developed a selective memory during the trial.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Wilhelm’s defense lawyer claims that Ms. Brimble took the drug ”freely and voluntarily" and "without pressure or duress.” Of course, Mr. Brimble is not here to tell the truth of what happened on the night in question. She ended up dead, face down on the floor of a cabin, after having the misfortune of running into the "gang of eight."
Over the weekend, I was the first to report in the U. S. (on Twitter and in this blog) that another passenger just reported being raped aboard P & O Cruises’ Pacific Sun cruise ship. Seven years later and here we are again. The problem of date rape drugs, rapes, thugs, and shipboard deaths are issues which the U. S. traveling public would rather not think about.
But the Brimble family has been suffering for seven years, and no one in the U. S. seems to be paying attention. The cruising public is focused on the never ending stories of bigger and bigger cruise ships and smaller and smaller cruise fares.
It has taken seven years to bring the Dianne Brimble case to trial. When the jury returns its verdict, will anyone in the U. S. be listening? Does anyone care?
Photo of Mark Wilhelm Getty Images (via www.daylife.com)
Group photo of men Sydney Morning Herald