The Australian newspaper reports that the Federal government in Australia is ignoring certain cruise safety recommendations proposed by Australian Coroner Jacqueline Milledge following an inquest into the death of P & O Cruises passenger Dianne Brimble.

Ms. Brimble’s death and the dreadful state of affairs which existed in the P & O Cruises fleet were some of the first issues I wrote about when I started this blog two years ago.  You can read through this sad case in a series of articles here.  The stories are disturbing.  

Dianne Brimble - Cruise Ship Crime  The Australian article today points out that it has been six months since NSW Coroner Jacqueline Milledge concluded an inquest into Ms. Brimble’s death aboard the P&O cruise ship, the Pacific Sky nine years ago, and issued cruise safety recommendations to the Federal Government.  

Ms. Milledge summed up the case accurately, saying Ms. Brimble was "drugged by unscrupulous individuals who were intent on denigrating her for their own sexual gratification."  The newspaper reports that the "conservative and modest mother-of-three was left to die on the floor of a cabin from an overdose of the drug, fantasy, and alcohol, after being photographed having sex with strangers she met in the ship’s disco."  Ms. Milledge recommended: 

Australian Federal Police on board every cruise ship;

Drug detection scanning of passengers and crew members;

Drug sniffer dogs at all ports; and

The establishment of a federal parliamentary committee to consider industry reforms to improve crime prevention, investigation and prosecution of offenses at sea.

The newspaper reports that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has not responded to the recommendations, saying only: "This is a tragic case that has caused pain and anguish to Ms. Brimble’s family and friends."

It is now nine years since Ms. Brimble’s untimely death.  It will be a real shame if these recommendations are not fully implemented no later than the 10 year anniversary of her death next year.  

 

Photo credit:  Book cover, "Abandoned – The Sad Death of Dianne Brimble" by Geesche Jacobsen.

In a stunning and unexpected end to the trial involving the death of P and O Cruises passenger Dianne Brimble, the prosecution dropped a manslaughter charge against fellow cruise passenger Mark Wilhelm.

Australia’s Herald Sun reports that Wilhelm pled guilty to supplying the date rape drug GHB to Ms. Brimble in exchange for being released from the manslaughter charge.

Mark Wilhelm - Dianne BrimbleLast year, a jury reached a split decision.  The jury found that Wilhelm gave Ms. Brimble the drugs which led to her death, but it could not reach a decision on the manslaughter charges.  This led to a hung jury and a decision to re-try the case.   

After the plea agreement was announced, the Brimble family had to endure a lecture by the presiding trial judge.  Justice Roderick Howe stated that although defendant Wilhelm may have been "technically and morally responsible" for Dianne Brimble’s cruise ship death, and his behavior may have been "bad, loutish or even insensitive,” he was not legally responsible for manslaughter. 

The judge then made a number of rather gratuitous comments, criticizing what he characterized as the "prejudice" and "hysteria” surrounding the death and ensuing events – adding that Wilhelm had been subjected to "rumors, misinformation, supposition and conjecture."

We have written many articles about Ms. Brimble and the outlandish conduct of Mr. Wilhelm and the seven men who cruised with him.  The judge’s comments are off the mark as well as being insensitive and disrespectful to the Brimble family.     

Ms. Brimble’s family expressed their frustration with the the decision to drop the manslaughter charge.  The Brisbane Times reports that Ms. Brimble’s family will seek to reopen the investigation into her death. 

According to the newspapers, Ms. Brimble’s former husband, Mark Brimble, said "We’re disappointed that it ends this way .  .  .  we are frustrated with the system.”  "I want the coroner to enter into findings . . .  we need to know what has to happen to stop this ever happening to any other individual or Australian traveling on a cruise ship or on a holiday," he said.

"Dianne went on a holiday and didn’t come back . . .  that should not happen to a person again."

Wilhelm will be sentenced for supplying the drugs on April 29th.

 

Credits:

Photograph        dailytelegraph.com.au

Newspapers in Australia are reporting that the re-trial of Mark Wilhelm, the man charged with the death of cruise passenger Dianne Brimble on the P and O cruise ship Pacific Sky, began  today,

Mark Wilhelm - Dianne Brimble - Cruise deathMs. Brimble died in Mr. Wilhelm’s cabin on the P and O cruise ship seven years ago.  Ms. Brimble’s death was attributable to the date rape drug, GHB ("Fantasy"), which defendant Wilhelm allegedly gave her. 

Ms. Brimble’s death illustrated the raucous behavior on the P and O cruise ships, the danger of date rape drugs on ships, and the lack of accountability of the cruise lines for passenger deaths.  

We have written many articles about Dianne Brimble’s death.

Last October, a jury returned with a split verdict which resulted in a mistrial.  Will the jury find criminal responsibility this time?

 

Credit:              

Photograph                 Sky News Australia

 

A Court in Australia has scheduled a new trial in the trial of P & O Cruises passenger Mark Wilhelm who was charged with the manslaughter death of fellow passenger Dianne Brimble aboard the P & O cruise ship Pacific Sky.

In October, a jury failed to reach a verdict in the first trial. 

Dianne Brimble Cruise Ship TrialThe Crown charged Wilhelm of manslaughter of Ms. Brimble who died on the P&O cruise ship in September 2002 after being given the illegal drug GHB, also known as fantasy or liquid ecstasy.  In addition to the manslaughter charges, the Crown charged Wilhem with the lesser charge of providing an illegal substance to Ms. Brimble.

This is great news for the Brimble family, who has been steadfast in their resolve to see this matter through until the judicial process has been exhausted. 

The new trial is scheduled for April 19, 2010.

Ms. Brimble’s family joined International Cruise Victims (“ICV”) organization to bring awareness to the problem of cruise ship crime. Mr. Brimble is the President of the ICV chapter in Australia. Information regarding Ms. Brimble is available on the ICV website

I have written a number of articles about the danger of date rape drugs on cruise ships and Ms. Brimble’s case:

Date Rape Drugs on Cruise Ships – the Death of Dianne Brimble

"Crawfishing" – Passengers in P & O Cruises Death Case Can’t Remember A Thing

Another Crawfishing Witness in the Dianne Brimble Trial

Jury Is Out in Dianne Brimble Cruise Death Case

Dianne Brimble and the Lessons to Teach Our Young Men

Jury Reaches Partial Verdict in Dianne Brimble Case

Hung Jury in Dianne Brimble Cruise Death Trial

 

Photo Credit      International Cruise Victims ("ICV") 

Today, the Court dismissed the jury in the Dianne Brimble trial in Australia after it deadlocked on one of two remaining charges against P & O passenger Mark Wilhelm.

Dianne Brimble - Mark WilhelmThe prosecution originally brought three charges against defendant Wilhelm for his involvement in the drugging death of Ms. Brimble on the P & O cruise ship Pacific Sky: (1) supplying a prohibited drug (GHB); (2) manslaughter, if the GHB significantly contributed to Ms Brimble’s death; and (3) manslaughter by criminal negligence, for failing to aid Ms. Brimble as she lay dying on the floor of the cabin. The last charge was withdrawn by the prosecution shortly before the case was submitted to the jury for deliberation because the Crown admitted that it could not prove exactly when Ms Brimble died.    

It appears that the jury agreed that Wilhelm gave Ms. Brimble the date rape drug, but could not agree that the drug was a substantial factor in her death. 

ABC News in Australia reports that before deadlocking, the jury asked the Court: "If the accused supplied Ms Brimble with GHB and this drug substantially contributed to her death, can the fact Ms. Brimble being an adult person who voluntarily took the drug be a reason for the accused to be found not guilty of manslaughter?" The Court answered the jury’s question "No."  Whether Ms. Brimble took the drug voluntarily, as opposed to Wilhelm giving her the drug surreptitiously, not was not a defense. 

Dianne Brimble The jury had to ignore much of the evidence introduced over the course of the last month after the prosecution withdrew manslaughter-by-criminal-negligence allegations.  The Court instructed the jurors that the trial was no longer about whether Mark Wilhelm should have helped Ms Brimble, and to ignore photographs of her dying on the cabin floor. 

The newspaper reports that the Court informed the jury that "it may have been morally reprehensible the way Ms Brimble was treated but there was a difference between morality and legal duties." 

Ms Brimble’s former husband Mark Brimble and David Mitchell, her partner of many years, appeared before the media after the Court discharged the jury. Mr. Brimble stated that their three children, two sons and a daughter, were not doing well with the jury’s failure to return a verdict.  News.au.com reports that Mr. Mitchell stated: "We will continue, of course, to fight for Dianne in our pursuit for the truth, with Dianne being the mother of our children." 

The newspaper also quotes Mr. Brimble stating:

"We’re frustrated but we’re not beaten. We’re tired, but we’re not finished. We’re still here, supporting our children through this and Dianne’s extended family and we’ll continue to do so."

Mr. Brimble’s and Mr. Mitchell’s comments to the media are recorded in this video from ABC News Australia:

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=wxVS96zGVaw%26hl%3Den%26fs%3D1%26

 

Is it possible that the case can be re-tried?  The Court has scheduled a conference on November 6, 2009 where this and other issues will be addressed.

 

 

Photo credits

Photo of Mark Wilhelm     AAP: Dean Lewins

Photo of Dianne Brimble   AAP: Jeremy Piper

Video of Mark Brimble and David Mitchell  ABC News Australia

Dianne Brimble cruise death trial - Mark Wilhelm ABC News reports that an Australian jury in the trial of cruise passenger Mark Wilhelm, accused of killing Dianne Brimble aboard a P & O cruise ship, has reached an unanimous verdict on one of two charges.

The prosecution charged defendant Wilhelm with manslaughter and "supplying a prohibited drug" (the date rape drug, GHB).

We have discussed this case in previous blogs:

Date Rape Drugs on Cruise Ships – the Death of Dianne Brimble

"Crawfishing" – Passengers in P & O Cruises Death Case Can’t Remember A Thing

Another Crawfishing Witness in the Dianne Brimble Trial

Jury Is Out in Dianne Brimble Cruise Death Case

Dianne Brimble and the Lessons to Teach Our Young Men

It is conceivable that the jury all agreed that Wilhelm gave Ms. Brimble the date rape drug, but they cannot unanimously agree on the homicide charge.  The newspaper reports that the judge could accept a verdict of 11 – 1.  The seven woman – five man jury will continue to deliberate tomorrow. 

Ms. Brimble’s former husband, Mark Brimble, heads the Australian chapter of the International Cruise Victims organization

For a reminder of the circumstances leading to Ms. Brimble’s death, here is a video of the heavy partying aboard the P & O Cruises cruise ship:

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=hr4_t9K0yF8%26hl%3Den%26fs%3D1%26

 

Photo credit:

Photo of Mark Wilhelm    The Daily Telegraph

The jury remains out on the trial of cruise passenger Mark Wilhelm who is accused of killing fellow passenger, Dianne Brimble, on the P & O Cruises’ Pacific Sun by supplying her with the date rape drug fantasy. 

We have commented on the case, explaining the risk of date rape drugs and the "crawfishing" testimony of Wilhelm’s cruise buddies Dragan Losic and Letterio Silvestri to get their buddy off of the hook for his bad conduct.

The case is now in the hands of the jurors, who have endured the technical arguments of defendant Wilhelm’s lawyers that Ms. Brimble did not have the drugs forced upon her, and so forth, and so on, and etcetera and etcetera. 

The jury will return its verdict this week.  The results seem to be a crap shoot, although I predict a conviction of defendant Wilhelm for giving Ms. Brimble the GHB which killed her.  But, and there is always a but, if the jury acquits Wilhelm – he will leave the courthouse with smiles and nervous laughter of relief. 

And the injustice to the Brimble family will continue.

Whatever the verdict, there remains the disturbing images of what happened on the Pacific Sun in 2002. Lessons remain to be learned to prevent a repeat of this disaster.

Several years ago, I printed out two articles which I have kept in my home office to remind me of this sad case.

One article was in the Sydney Morning Herald by Robert Wainwright entitled "Women Fair Game for Cruise’s Hunting Pack." This is a disturbing article, filled with sexual predators and "the heady cocktail of alcohol, drugs and the thought of women trapped aboard a ship . . ."

If you read this article, you will need a shower to remove the sleaze.  There is no denying the palpable depravity on the P & O Cruises’ cruise ship, with no real security and an "anything goes" attitude which are as responsible for Ms. Brimble’s death as the scummy men who preyed upon her. 

The other article is entitled "Dianne Brimble and Me" by author Caroline Hutchinson who wrote the book  "Is It Just Me?"

Ms. Hutchinson’s self-reflective article reveals the horror of Ms. Brimble’s death on the floor of an economy-class cabin of the Pacific Sky cruise ship and the despicable men who caused her death.  Ms. Hutchinson writes:

"One of these men, Leo Silvestri, told the police that Dianne Brimble’s death in his cabin ruined his holiday. He has admitted that on the morning in question, he woke to find Mrs Brimble dead on the floor, then showered and dressed her lifeless body.

Witnesses have told the inquest Mr. Silvestri later joked with fellow passengers that he considered throwing her body overboard.

Mr Silvestri told police that the night before Mrs. Brimble died, she allegedly walked up to his table and said: ‘Hi, how are you going?’

‘It’s like, Hi, see you. I just brushed her off; I didn’t want to speak to her … breath, yuck, ugly dog, just go talk to someone else. Ring the RSPCA,’ Silvestri said.

Later in the interview, Mr. Silvestri repeatedly referred to Mrs. Brimble as the ‘thing’ and called her the ‘ugly dog.’ 

He prided himself on the fact he didn’t ‘talk to anything over 60 kilos.’

Ms. Hutchinson’s article brings home the frightful specter of an insecure women running into a pack of wolves like this, whether the setting is a cruise ship or a neighborhood bar.  What are the lessons to be learned from this terrible tale?  Ms. Hutchinson again brings the point home reflecting on the question of how we are raising our own boys: 

"I want you to take a look around today. Look at your sons, and think about what their values are.

Are your boys kind? Are they generous of spirit? Do they think about the needs of other people? Are they brave? Do you trust them to do the right thing?

Would your son stand up for a drunken girl being harassed or degraded by a group of older blokes? Would he drag Dianne Brimble out of a ship’s cabin and get her help?

Look at your son.

Ask yourself if he’s that kind of boy.

Because that’s the type of man we need him to be."
 
 

Photo Credit:

Photo of "gang of 8"      The Age newspaper

Book cover "Is It Just Me?"    Caroline Hutchinson 

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 credit:

Photo of Mark Wilhelm     Getty Images (via www.daylife.com)        

Group photo of men        Sydney Morning Herald 

The criminal trial arising from the death of P & O Cruises’ passenger, Dianne Brimble, has now seen another witness suddenly forget incriminating details surrounding Ms. Brimble’s death.

In a previous article, I commented on the phenomenon of "crawfishing" witness, who like crawfish crawling back into a hole, backpedal from the truth when placed under pressure. 

Today, the trial included another one of the "8 persons of interest," Letterio Silvestri.  ABC News in Australia reports that Mr. Silvestri could no longer remember his friend Mark Wilhelm having sex with Ms. Brimble in the cabin after she had been drugged.  Nor could Mr. Silvestri remember pushing Ms. Brimble off of the bed and onto the floor shortly before she died of a toxic mix of alcohol and GBH. This story was also reported by the Australian newspaper. 

This follows the spectacle of "gang of 8" witness Dragan Losic being unable to remember meeting Ms. Brimble or seeing her in the cabin or recalling date rape drugs on the cruise ship as he originally testified at a preliminary hearing. This is not to mention reluctant witness Matthew Slade, who originally  told police he saw a naked body in the cabin. But once under oath at trial he could not remember a thing.

What a bunch of crustaceans.   

 

Photo credit  –    AAP Image: Mick Tsikas, via ABC News Australia   

The criminal trial in Australia regarding the death of Dianne Brimble on P & O Cruises’ Pacific Sky continues with key witnesses having a complete lapse of memory. 

In a previous article, I commented on the danger of passengers, like Ms. Brimble, being given "Fantasy" or other date rape drugs on cruise ships.

Dragan Losic (with goatee), one of "8 persons of interest" in Ms. Brimble’s death, appeared in Court. Over the course of three hours of his testimony, he could not even remember meeting Dianne Brimble on the first night of the cruise, just hours before she died in his friends’ cabin. 

Australia’s "The Age" newspaper reports that Mr. Losic previously testified in what is called a "coronial inquest." At that time, he clearly recollected that he was the first to meet Ms Brimble in a disco on the cruise ship and he later observed her in his friend’s cabin.  He also remembered "Fantasy" on the cruise ship.  But now with his friend on trial for Ms.Brimble’s death, Mr. Losic can’t remember a thing.

Another key witness, Matthew Graham Slade, who testified today also changed his story. Australian news website news.com.au reports that Mr. Slade originally told police that  he awoke on the cruise and  saw a naked body on the floor of his cabin. But at trial, he claims that he can’t remember this at all. 

In New Orleans where I went to law school, we called this "crawfishing."  This is a term which characterizes a crawfish (or other crustacean) which crawls backwards, usually into a hole, when confronted with danger. 

Date rape drugs.  Crawfishing witnesses.  A devastated family.  The trial continues. 

 

Photo credit      Sydney Morning Herald