No police charges over coffin hoax

00:24, Jul 16 2014
Coffin in Hutt River
GRIM FIND: A coffin has been found in the Hutt River.

A Wellington man who placed a coffin in the Hutt River as a hoax will not be charged.

Dan Herbison put the coffin, with a mannequin inside, in the river on Sunday night. On Monday morning he notified media that is was there - though he did not reveal his involvement or the fact it was a hoax designed to promote his website.

Police cordoned off the area and, after discovering it was a hoax, said they would consider charging Herbison for wasting police time and resources.

However, police spokesman Nick Bohm said today police had spoken to Herbison and given him a warning.

He understood the foolishness of his actions and the potential for his stunt to cause offence, Bohm said.

Police would not take further action.


Earlier this week, Bohm described the prank as ''highly insensitive'' to families who had lost loved ones in the area.

The coffin was found about 50m from where the body of Brett Ramon Waiwai, 30, of Lower Hutt was found less than a year ago.

A Hutt City Council spokeswoman said earlier that the council would not prosecute for the stunt.

Earlier this week, Victoria University school of management marketing expert David Stewart said Herbison had failed in his bid for exposure and had created a negative buzz around his business with the ill-conceived stunt.

''People will be offended and think he's an idiot. Death and dying in New Zealand society is still a bit of a taboo subject - it's an emotional thing.''

After the failed stunt, Herbison admitted he had ''taken it too far''.''It's going to get bad, I know,'' he said.

The Dominion Post