Police Announce Possibility of Charges Resulting from CTV Building Collapse
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Police Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess
In a press conference today, the New Zealand Police announced that they would be following up information passed on to them by the New Zealand Department of Building and Housing, regarding the construction of the Canterbury Television building.
Earlier today, DBH released its report into the building which collapsed following the Christchurch earthquake on the 22nd of February, killing 115 people.
The report says that the design and construction of the CTV building did not meet building standards when it was constructed in 1986.
According to the report, the building collapsed because of two critical factors:
building's failure to bend sufficiently during the quake; and
ii. the strength and layout of shear walls, none of which met building standards at the time.
DBH considered the circumstances surrounding the construction of the building to be "of concern", and for that reason, they have passed on the information they have gathered to Police.
Police Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said police would be seeking legal advice before they made the decision to prosecute.
At this stage, he said they would be looking to see if they could establish the foundations for criminal liability, with a possibility of criminal nuisance or manslaughter charges following.
These offences would require proving a degree of gross negligence, and he said at this stage it would be wrong to speculate on how their preliminary investigations would unfold.
Section 145 of the Crimes Act 1961 states that "every one commits criminal nuisance who does any unlawful act or omits to discharge any legal duty, such act or omission being one which he knew would endanger the lives, safety, or health of the public, or the life, safety, or health of any individual."