22 April 2005
Attorney-General Michael Cullen said today he had asked the Solicitor-General to consider and report on whether there were grounds to apply to the High Court to issue an order for a new inquest into the death of Kenneth Richards on the property of Keith and Margaret Berryman in 1994.
“The Solicitor-General alone has the statutory responsibility to determine whether such an application should be made.
"Given the recent public controversy, I have asked him to consider whether he should exercise his statutory power to apply to the High Court to order a further inquest, and to advise me whether he considers there are sufficient grounds to do so."
Dr Cullen noted that ministers are constrained from what they can say on this issue, and that therefore it is proving very difficult for the public to gain a balanced view.
“I would expect to be able to make the Solicitor-General's decision and his reasoning publicly available. It will be a matter for the Solicitor-General to determine how long he will need to consider all the material before making a decision, and reporting to me on it,” Dr Cullen said.