Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Charges against Peter Whittall not proceeding

Media release
12 December 2013

Charges against former Pike River CEO Peter Whittall not proceeding

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will not be proceeding with charges laid against former Pike River CEO Peter Whittall in connection with safety failings at the Pike River Mine.

In the Christchurch District Court this morning, the Ministry told Judge Jane Farish it intended to offer no evidence on the 12 charges and asked that Mr Whittall be discharged.

“It is very important to understand that the evidence we gathered met the threshold for initially laying charges.  However, as a hearing date approached, the Ministry again reviewed its case against the ‘Test for Prosecution’ set out in the Solicitor General’s prosecution guidelines,” the acting Deputy Chief Executive of the Health and Safety group, Geoffrey Podger said.

“Taking into account the available evidence, the Ministry considered that the likelihood of obtaining a conviction was low. A number of factors were considered relevant and were taken into account in making this assessment”, Mr Podger said. “These included witnesses not being prepared to make themselves available, contests between experts, and other pre-trial issues.”

“There is also the issue of the public interest.  This is a particular aspect of the Test for Prosecution and is not the same as a test of public opinion about the case.   Following careful consideration, the Ministry determined that the public interest was not met by continuing with a long costly trial with a low probability of success.  The issues considered included the low sentence that was likely to be imposed in the event of a conviction; the fact that reparation orders would be unlikely to be imposed; and that the principal offender (Pike River Coal Limited (In Receivership)) has been convicted and fined,” Mr Podger said.

“Additionally, a proposal was made by Mr Whittall’s legal team that subject to charges being withdrawn, he would meet the Pike River families.  Each of the Company’s directors would be asked by Mr Whittall to attend. The proposal also included a voluntary payment on behalf of directors and officers of the company at the time of the explosion of $3.41 million to meet the reparation ordered by Judge Farish at the Pike River Coal Limited sentencing.

“The Ministry sought advice from the Solicitor General on whether the financial offer should be taken into account, and if so, how.   After consultation with the Solicitor-General and careful consideration, it was determined that the offer should be taken into account. However, ultimately it was the low likelihood of conviction together with the other public interest factors weighing against prosecution that led us to the conclusion not to proceed with the charges,” Mr Podger said.

“We also note the successful prosecution of Pike River Coal Limited (In Receivership), with a record fine and reparations being ordered,” Mr Podger said.

“In all of the circumstances, the Ministry did not consider continuing the case against Mr Whittall was therefore warranted,” Mr Podger said.

“The Ministry has informed the families of the 29 men who died of its decision,” Mr Podger said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news