Woz Elected Chairman of BSAC

Alex Warzynski, Woz, BSAC, British Sub Aqua Club Chairman, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba news, diving PR
Alex Warzynski aka 'Woz' - BSAC's latest Chairman

Overnight the British Sub Aqua Club has released the results of their recent election. (This election was independently operated by the Electoral Reform Services.)

BSAC welcomes a new Chairman, Treasurer and three council members.

The new Chairman is Alex Warzynski. He polled 1,040 votes and replaces Eugene Farrell who was elected in 2014.

Alex Warzynski - known to the Brit diving fraternity as 'Woz' - has an understanding of how dive clubs work, having been a member BSAC for 26 years.

Woz started diving in 1989 with Newcastle University. He joined Nottingham University SAC in 1999 when he was asked by their President to help out because they were short of instructors.

Today Woz is a BSAC Advanced Diver, BSAC Advanced Instructor, an ITS Instructor Trainer, and a Trimix rebreather diver.

In the past nine years he has previous held key positions in this club including 'Diving Officer' (2007 - 2009, and 2012); Assistant Diving Officer (2009 - 2010) and Boat Officer (2005 - 2007).

Woz told us earlier today that he is "passionate and driven to change BSAC into the organisation that you would have to be bonkers not to be a member of".

"BSAC is going through a period of substantial change with extensive plans in place to support members and reverse the decline in numbers. And crucial to this is a Chairman who can drive these changes forward, and they need to have skills in strategy development, implementation, business, innovation, negotiation and the trust of those who deliver this. My day job is managing director of a successful and growing engineering business with a similar turnover and size to BSAC, so have a proven track record with all of those skills and can transfer them to help grow BSAC into the organisation it should be." Alex Warzynski

Woz has already served on Council for six years, two of which as Vice Chair, therefore he should be ready to meet the challenges as the new Chairman of BSAC.

Alex Warzynski, Woz, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, BSAC, British Sub Aqua Club
Woz has been diving since 1989

"Members need to be at the centre of everything - we need to focus on making members’ lives as easy as possible so we can concentrate on what we all want - to get in the water and go exploring with our mates.

What BSAC uniquely does really well is go diving and I want to strengthen that position by offering clear value for money with effective member support. I have already been working with the regional teams to deliver better club and member support to help clubs recruit, train and go diving.

I have a great relationship with the staff at HQ, NDC, Council and regional coaches and have the full support of National Diving Officer Sophie Heptonstall. It’s really important that we all work together to give members the support they need within a clear overall strategic direction so that members keep diving, and stay members of a great BSAC." Alex Warzynski

The new Honorary Treasurer is Louise Whitehouse. The new new members of BSAC council are Michelle Kim, Claire Howard and Rachel Sharp.

The successful candidates will take up their BSAC Council positions after the BSAC AGM, to be held on Saturday 14th May 2016 at 9.30am at The Manfred Suite, Holiday Inn, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 2AL.

The result of the Special Resolutions vote will be announced at this year’s BSAC AGM.

BSAC would like to thank every candidate who stood for election, and congratulate those who were elected.

Chairman:

  • Alex (Woz) Warzynski – 1,040 Elected
  • Stephen Martin - 396
  • Mark Allen - 379
  • Damian Wozniak – 125

Total votes cast:1940

Honorary Treasurer:

  • Louise Whitehouse – 1,015 Elected
  • Janos Suto – 831

Total votes cast:1846

Council (three positions available):

  • Michelle Kim – 766    Elected
  • Rachel Sharp – 716   Elected
  • Claire Howard – 711  Elected
  • Dave Bell – 701
  • Trevor Brown - 671
  • Dai Atkins - 667
  • Rob Higgie –450

Total votes cast: 1,825

Stephen Martin Case DROPPED!

Today, Monday 18th January 2016, the British Sub Aqua Club issued this statement.

"This morning lawyers for BSAC member Stephen Martin were advised that all charges have been dropped by the Maltese Authorities, following a visit to the Island’s Attorney General by the British Sub-Aqua Club, last week. It brings to an end a horrific nightmare for Stephen who could have faced up to ten years in prison if he had been found guilty in Malta.

Stephen Martin, BSAC, British Sub Aqua Club, diving in Gozo, diving deaths, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Scuba diver Stephen Martin

Stephen was charged last July with two counts of involuntary homicide, following the deaths in Gozo in June 2014 of Larissa Hooley and Nigel Haines, despite the fact a UK inquest had concluded in February 2015 that they died due to a diving accident.

Speaking of his relief today Stephen said: “I am overwhelmed. This has been an utter nightmare for me, and I am just so relieved it is over. I feel I can finally start grieving for Larissa and Nigel, I just can’t keep back the tears. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over the last 12 months – I have been overwhelmed by the support of divers in the UK and worldwide and for all the efforts that have been made on my behalf to get these charges overturned. BSAC have also been really been fantastic. It’s a great example of how they look after their members, and I can’t thank them enough.”

BSAC chief executive Mary Tetley said: “First of all I would like to extend our sympathies from all at the British Sub-Aqua Club to the families of Larissa Hooley and Nigel Haines.

“This was a tragic accident and Stephen is among the many who are still grieving their loss.

I would like to thank the Malta Tourism Authority for facilitating the crucial meeting with the Attorney General. The decision today brings to an end the horrendous ordeal which Stephen has suffered since he was charged, and we are both delighted and relieved for him.”

Stephen’s solicitor in the UK, Edward Elwyn Jones of Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors described the charge as “bizarre” because it was not at all clear how the Maltese authorities proposed to prove that Stephen had actually caused the deaths of Larissa and Nigel.

He said: “We received notification from the UK Crown Prosecution Service this morning that the European Arrest Warrant for Stephen Martin had been withdrawn. I have also received notification from the Attorney General in Malta that the intended prosecution will no longer be proceeded with. This brings to an end a long and painful nightmare for Stephen. It is rare for an extradition request to be withdrawn. Often when they are it is as a result of lobbying outside the courtroom and BSAC are to be commended for the work they have done to highlight Stephen’s plight at the highest level.”

Stephen’s MP Sir Peter Bottomley who has also been supporting his case, said: “I’m grateful to the Maltese Attorney General for meeting with BSAC and reviewing the case and to Stephen’s lawyer Ed Jones. I also pay tribute to the British Sub-Aqua club and Stephen’s lawyer Ed Jones for their efforts in this case.”

Update on Stephen Martin Case

The British Sub Aqua Club issued this statement at 3pm today, Tuesday 12th January 2016.

"This morning (Tuesday 12th January) BSAC’s Chairman, Chief Executive and National Diving Officer met with the Attorney General of Malta to discuss the Stephen Martin case.

 

Stephen Martin, British Sub Aqua Club, BSAC, involuntary homicide, diving death, scuba diving death, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, diving in Malta, scuba diving in Gozo

BSAC member Stephen Martin has been charged with two counts of involuntary homicide following a diving incident in Gozo in 2014, in which two people tragically died.

Following BSAC’s last meeting in Malta in November regarding Stephen’s case, we have continued to work with the Malta Tourism Authority to secure a meeting with the Maltese Attorney General.

It was a very frank, open and direct meeting lasting 1 hour 40 minutes in which we questioned the strength of the case against Stephen Martin. We very firmly explained our dismay at this case ever being brought against Stephen. We believe there is a complete lack of evidence to support it and have questioned all aspects of this case.

While the Attorney General listened to our representations and views, he explained procedurally he is unable to withdraw the case at this time.

We also met with Stephen’s legal representative in Malta and continue to work with both him and Stephen’s legal representative in the UK as well as the Malta Tourism Authority to maintain pressure and to explore all possible opportunities.

Stephen has been fully updated as to what has taken place. There will be a further hearing in Malta on the 25 January at which we hope the Maltese authorities will reconsider their position and drop the case."

BSAC To Assist Member With Legal Costs

The British Sub Aqua Club Council has just released this statement regarding the Stephen Martin involuntary homicide case due to be held in Gozo.

"As a BSAC member, you may be aware of the case involving one of our members, Stephen Martin. Stephen was present on a dive in Malta when two divers very sadly died in June 2014. An inquest held in the UK in February 2015 returned a verdict of diving accident. However, Stephen has been charged with involuntary homicide by a court in Gozo, and served with an extradition order to return to Malta.

Stephen Martin, scuba diving in Gozo and Malta, BSAC, British Sub Aqua Club, involuntary homicide case, scuba diving deaths, diving insurance
BSAC would very much like to assist Stephen in his defence of the charge. We have been advised that the 2014/2015 BSAC Third-Party Liability Insurance that was in place at the time of the incident does not cover Stephen’s defence costs. Council has taken legal advice as to whether BSAC is liable to fund Stephen’s legal costs and has been advised that it is not. Of course this does not help Stephen, which is something we would like to do.

At a special meeting Council agreed that BSAC will assist Stephen with the legal costs of his defence of the case, up to £100,000. We have met with Stephen today to move this forward. Stephen has also agreed for this statement to be released.

BSAC is a members’ organisation and Council is elected to represent all its members’ diving interests. In reaching the decision to support Stephen, Council has considered the needs of the membership as a whole, and we believe that this is an appropriate use of BSAC funds. BSAC Council hopes that the majority of our members will feel the same way.

Stephen Martin, scuba diving in Gozo and Malta, BSAC, British Sub Aqua Club, involuntary homicide case, scuba diving deaths, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing CompanyBeyond our deep regret that two fellow divers died in this incident, and our sadness that Stephen has faced hardship since that day, we are extremely sorry that we have been unable to release this news previously.

We are aware that there is a school of thought held by some of our members that BSAC has been lacking, to date, in its support for Stephen. We were unable to make any financial commitment to Stephen until we had exhausted all our discussions with our insurers on his behalf and received legal advice. It would have been entirely inappropriate for us to comment either privately (to Stephen) or publicly until those were complete. The lengthy delays in deciding how to proceed are regrettable. We would like to say sorry to Stephen for the concern this has caused and promise our members that we will do better in the future.

We will make further details regarding diving responsibilities and diving in Malta, along with a detailed FAQ guide to the current Third-Party Liability insurance to complement the official policy document, available to all members as soon as possible. The 2015/2016 Third-Party Liability Policy with Liberty Insurance includes criminal defence costs for manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and culpable homicide."