Jet skier hurt mate in ‘extremely upsetting’ crash

A GOLD Coast glazier who disfigured his long-time mate in a horrific jetski accident on the Gold Coast has avoided jail-time or having a conviction recorded against him.

Parkwood man Ricky John Zeller, 41, told the Bulletin outside Southport Magistrates Court he thought the case should never have made it to sentence.

Zeller faced Magistrate Cameron McKenzie on Tuesday after pleading guilty to failing to operate a ship safely causing death or grievous bodily harm after the crash.

Gold Coast man Ricky John Zeller (front left, white shirt) walks from Southport Magistrates Court with his defence lawyer Natasha Shorter and a friend on Tuesday.
Gold Coast man Ricky John Zeller (front left, white shirt) walks from Southport Magistrates Court with his defence lawyer Natasha Shorter and a friend on Tuesday.

It occurred while Zeller and his friend of two decades were jetskiing on the Nerang River on November 8 last year.

The father-of-three stopped accelerating his craft and lost steering, resulting in the accident which left his mate with wrist and forearm injuries, the court was told.

Police prosecutor Joel Sleep pushed for a wholly suspended prison term or a significant fine, but Magistrate McKenzie was not convinced.

Magistrate McKenzie said the crash was "a most unfortunate incident" which "wasn't reckless".

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Defence lawyer Natasha Shorter said the situation was "extremely upsetting for both parties".

Zeller sold his jet ski due to the trauma of the incident, the court was told.

"It really was just an unfortunate accident," Ms Shorter said.

The jet skicrash occurred on the Nerang River on November 8 last year. Picture: Richard Jupe
The jet skicrash occurred on the Nerang River on November 8 last year. Picture: Richard Jupe

She produced three glowing character references - including one from the victim, in which he outlined his support for Zeller.

Mr McKenzie said Zeller's friend described him as a "dedicated worker and loyal friend".

He said a "steering mishap" led to the crash.

"I accept Mr Zeller's remorse and that he will forever carry the burden of knowing through the misadventure caused by his actions, or inaction, he caused injury to a close friend," Mr McKenzie said.

Zeller, who entered an early plea, was fined $1250. No conviction was recorded.

Originally published as Jet skier hurt mate in 'extremely upsetting' crash


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