Berrymans' bridge timeline

Last updated 02:24 02/05/2008

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A timeline of the Berrymans' bridge disaster and fallout:

1986: Bridge built by the army on the Berrymans' farm as an engineering training exercise.

March 22, 1994: The bridge collapses as beekeeper Kenneth Richards is driving across it. He plunges 30 metres to his death.

February 1996: Court dismisses OSH case against couple, ruling bridge was not a workplace for the self-employed beekeeper.

1997: Taumarunui coroner Tim Scott rules responsibility for the collapse "must largely lie" with the Berrymans.

2001: Government makes $150,000 compensation offer if couple cease legal action. This is rejected.

Couple discover army conducted inquiry at time of accident, carried out by civil engineer George Butcher.

2004: Lawyer Rob Moodie takes case on and pushes for Butcher report to be published.

February 2005: Army successfully challenges court ruling allowing its publication.

April 2005: Dr Moodie publishes Butcher report online. Government asks solicitor-general to look at whether or not a new inquest should be held.

June 2005: Solicitor-General Terence Arnold refuses another inquest.

September 2005: Berrymans take case to High Court, seeking to overturn his refusal.

April 2006: Couple sue army for $4.5 million in the High Court.

Yesterday: Justice Jill Mallon quashes the 1997 coroner's finding, but states there is to be no further inquest.


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- The Dominion Post

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