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Nicky Stevens’ family gutted by Waikato DHB’s demand

Nicky Stevens’ grieving family gutted by Waikato DHB’s demand to Govt for a completely new inquest into his death, and removal of previous Coroner

Suicide victim Nicky Stevens’ whanau has today been sent a letter from the Solicitor-General’s office stating that Waikato DHB has called for an entirely new Inquest and new Coroner to reinvestigate Nicky’s death while in the DHB’s care.

“We are left absolutely reeling”, said Nicky’s mother Jane Stevens.

“This has really knocked us for a six.”

“We waited three and a half years for the first inquest and we just can’t imagine having to go through another one.”

“We’ve never heard of a challenge like this to a Coronial Inquest – they must have something awfully big to hide!”

Inquests are excruciatingly hard on families and Nicky’s was particularly difficult because it was drawn out for so long and was made so adversarial by the DHB and psychiatrist’s lawyers.

“Now our son’s death has become a legal circus all over again, with the DHB prepared to pump more huge amounts of taxpayers’ money into overturning the Coroners findings just because they refuse to accept any accountability.”

“It’s outrageous,” she said. “It feels like they are going to go to the ends of the earth to try and get out of accepting their role in our son’s death.”

Nicky’s father Dave Macpherson said, “The DHB have been totally disingenuous in their dealings with us. CEO Derek Wright told us to our face in a meeting at our home in December that they wanted to settle with us quickly and cleanly, and that while they had a few procedural issues with the Inquest process, these would not stop the settlement process”.

“Our whanau needs to heal, and to be able to let our boy lie in peace. This continual denial, in the face of all the evidence and the independent findings, is just prolonging our agony, and it’s impacting on our own health and wellbeing”.

“It feels like our whanau are being punished for standing up and speaking out when it’s very clear that the mental health system is failing many families.”

“That’s come through loud and clear in the Mental Health Inquiry; our son’s case is a prime example of those failures.”

“Everyone except Waikato DHB seems to be acknowledging the need for change and for learning from their mistakes. Why is it so hard for them to acknowledge they stuffed up?” he added.

Stevens and Macpherson wrote to the Prime Minister late last week after being told of the DHB’s then minor complaints about the Coronial process. They told the Prime Minister they no longer trusted the DHB and asked for an independent mediator to be appointed to help the parties reach resolution.

“This latest action, hidden from us for two weeks, makes the intervention of the Prime Minister even more important,” Jane Stevens finished.

Jane Stevens, Dave Macpherson & Tony Macpherson-Stevens

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