Speaker 1 (00:00):
Well, Outback Wrangler host Matt Wright has been hit with fresh charges of reckless conduct over the fatal helicopter crash in 2022 that killed his co-star, Chris Wilson, and left pilot Sebastian Robinson a paraplegic.

Speaker 2 (00:13):
It’s alleged that Mr. Wright and his aviation company intended to falsify the actual number of flight hours impacting the regular inspection and replacement of aircraft components.

Joining us now is aviation lawyer and qualified pilot, Peter Carter. Good morning to you, Peter. So talk us through what these charges mean.

Peter Carter (00:31):
Morning mate.

Well, they’re very serious charges. It’s a category one charge under the Northern Territory legislation to be dealt with in the local court. What they’ve got to show is that the falsification of records was relevant to the death of Chris Wilson.

Speaker 1 (00:51):
So you’re bang on, I mean, these charges, Matt Wright is looking at five years in prison, fines of millions of dollars. But the reputational damage here for a superstar known worldwide is immeasurable.

Peter Carter (01:10):
That so. These charges will have a separate track to the other charges that have already been brought in. There may well be further charges given what the Department has said. It should be noted though that normally it’d be the Aviation Safety Authority that would deal with these prosecutions, but because of their questionable involvement in the whole exercise, they’ve handed it over to the Northern Territory WorkSafe Department.

Speaker 2 (01:36):
Okay. So let’s look at what the charges are involved. The allegation here is that they were interviewing with something called the Hobbs meter, and they actually record the time the aircraft is in use. Could you explain to us the repercussions of that?

Peter Carter (01:54):
Yes. Look, because aircraft maintenance and aircraft parts are very expensive and helicopters have a lot of moving parts, the temptation for those inclined to extend the period of operation between the mandatory service intervals is exactly that, a temptation. And it does happen. And the investigators, when they have a suspicion of it, will go hard to look at the evidence. And it’s very similar to disconnecting your odometer in a car.

But what happened here was the allegation is that the Hobbs meter, which is like the odometer, was disconnected and false entries were written into the maintenance release every day as to the number of hours flown. So they under-recorded the number of hours flown for that reason I’ve just mentioned.

Speaker 2 (02:51):
Right, okay.

Speaker 1 (02:53):
As you said, Peter, there’s still a lot to play out in this case and it could be going on for quite some time. Yeah. Thanks for your time.