Appeals court clears diver of involuntary manslaughter of diving buddy
Arthur Castillo had his conviction of involuntary manslaughter quashed after the appeals court ruled that he did everything he could have reasonably been expected to do under the circumstances.
On Friday 25 November 2022, a lower court found diver Arthur Castillo, 60, guilty of the involuntary homicide of his long-time dive buddy Christine Gauci, who died following a dive in Mgarr ix-Xini, a bay on the southern coast of Gozo in January 2020. Gauci was an Armed Forces of Malta member, diving instructor and technical diver.
In a ruling that caused outrage in the diving community, the lower court handed Castillo a two-year jail term suspended for four years, which was immediately appealed.
The appeal court cleared him of all criminal liability on Wednesday, after it came to a different interpretation of the “buddy system,” which had been a crucial factor in his previous conviction, stating that it did not mean that the two were responsible for each other.
Focusing on the notion of contributory negligence, the court said that although the victim’s own negligence did not exonerate the accused, it was to be considered. The court believed that Castillo was not negligent and could not have prevented the incident from happening, Times of Malta reported.
Castillo thanks friends in Malta and abroad as well as his family for their support.