A judicial review will be held in the High Court at Wellington next month into the Crown’s decision to drop charges against former Pike River Mine boss Peter Whittall.
The Herald on Sunday can also reveal the Independent Police Conduct Authority is close to finishing an investigation into whether police should have re-entered the mine, where 29 miners and contractors died in an explosion on November 19, 2010.
Under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, the former Department of Labour laid 12 charges against Whittall, the mine’s former boss, in relation to the mining disaster.
But the charges were dropped in December 2013 after a review by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment deemed “the likelihood of obtaining a conviction was low”.
Instead, Whittall and Pike River Coal offered voluntary $110,000 reparation payments to the families of the 29 dead men and also to the disaster’s two survivors, Russell Smith and Daniel Rockhouse.
In what is the only piece of ongoing litigation in connection with the tragedy, a judicial review of the decision to drop the charges against Whittall will now be held in the High Court at Wellington on May 25 and 26.
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