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Charges dismissed against former Pike River CEO

Media Release

12 December 2013

Charges dismissed against former Pike River CEO

This media release is made by John Dow, Ray Meyer, Stuart Nattrass and Peter Whittall, some of the former directors and officers of Pike River Coal Limited (in receivership), through their lawyers at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has decided not to proceed with its health and safety prosecution of Mr Whittall and all the charges previously laid against him have been dismissed.

Mr Whittall has always maintained his innocence.

As details of the prosecution case were made available over a lengthy period, fundamental deficiencies and flaws in the case were identified. It is Mr Whittall’s view that these have led to the dismissal of the charges.

Establishing the charges against Mr Whittall individually was always going to be considerably more difficult than sheeting home collective responsibility to the company.

The case was still in an early preparation phase and the trial would not have started until mid to late 2014 and would have taken at least four months to complete. The costs would have been significant for all parties.

Funds that would have been used to defend the case are now available for the families of the victims and the two survivors. Arrangements are being made for payment on behalf of the company’s directors and officers of the $3.41 million amount that the company was ordered to pay.

Our clients wish to reiterate their heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of those men who lost their lives in the Pike River coal mine in November 2010.  Not a day passes without them reflecting on the loss that many have been forced to suffer.

Mr Whittall has offered to meet with the families to convey these sentiments in person. Mr Dow, Mr Meyer and Mr Nattrass will join him. Other directors Tony Radford, Dipak Agarwalla, Arun Jagatramka, Sanjay Loyalka and Surendra Sinha have also been invited by Mr Whittall to attend.

Our clients do not intend at this time to make any further public statement and ask that the media respect their privacy and that of their families.

Memorandum_of_Counsel_for_Defendant_12_December.pdf

ENDS

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