Director of Australian firm plans to appeal verdict

Alex Cittidini, director of a boatbuilding firm in Australia, was today found guilty of manslaughter relating to a fatal capsize seven years ago.

A jury in NSW District Court found Cittadini guilty on four counts, following the deaths of four sailors in September 2002.

Cittadini, director and engineer of now-defunct Applied Alloy Yachts, supervised the building of the million-dollar yacht Excalibur, which flipped over after its keel fell off in rough seas.

Excalibur’s skipper and crewmate survived, but four others died.

A coronial inquest in 2005 revealed that the keel had been cut horizontally and was only held together by “child-like” welding.

Cittadini and factory foreman Adrian Presland were charged with four counts of manslaughter. Presland was acquitted yesterday. The prosecutors were unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was to blame for the “shoddy” work.

But the jury found Cittadini guilty on all four counts, saying he either knew about the cut and re-weld or should have.

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