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November 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 40, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Regulator-Ripping Diver Is “Not the Criminal Here.” Really?

from the November, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A February 17 trial date has been set for the year's most infamous dive. You may recall our June feature article "An Underwater Attack Makes World Headlines," giving details of an underwater encounter off Hawaii's Kona coast on May 8 between marine activist Rene Umberger and fish collector Jay Lovell. Umberger, who has written for Undercurrent about the bad practices used to collect Hawaii fish for the aquarium trade, and two other divers were using cameras to film fish collectors plying their trade, and when Lovell saw them filming him collecting fish, he finned toward Umberger and pulled the regulator out of her mouth.

Authorities charged Lovell with a misdemeanor of second-degree terroristic threatening, to which he pleaded not guilty in September. Lovell didn't speak during the brief arraignment, but his attorney, Evans Smith, objected to a media request for extended coverage, which would allow a camera in the courtroom, then requested the case be taken to trial.

After the arraignment, Smith told West Hawaii Today that Lovell was actually the one under threat, being surrounded by six strangers, who blocked his route back to the surface, and when he got back on land, he immediately reported the incident to authorities. "He's not the criminal here," Smith said.

Oh, really? Who was the only diver down there to rip a regulator out of someone's mouth?

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