Police complete report into CTV collapse, no decision on prosecutions

The CTV building's destruction caused a devastating amount of deaths.
PHIL REID/FAIRFAX NZ

The CTV building's destruction caused a devastating amount of deaths.

Police have completed a report into the collapse of Christchurch's CTV building but are yet to decide whether to prosecute.

That result has displeased some who lost relatives in the disaster and want justice and assurance the construction industry will work to compliance.

The Canterbury Earthquakes royal commission found the building, which pancaked and killed 115 people in the February 2011 quake, did not meet construction standards. 

Search and recovery at the CTV building after the February 22, 2011, earthquake struck Christchurch.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Search and recovery at the CTV building after the February 22, 2011, earthquake struck Christchurch.

Police began a criminal inquiry in September 2014 and commissioned engineering consultants and soil specialists to examine the site's foundations. 

On Friday, Detective Superintendent Peter Read said police had completed its investigation report. The report, now with the Christchurch Crown Solicitor for review, includes expert engineering advice, which has been subject to overseas peer review.

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The CTV building following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON

The CTV building following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Read said the file would then undergo further legal review before police made a final decision regarding any prosecution. He was unable to put a timeframe on when a decision would be made, other than in 2017.

"I am very mindful of the length of time this process is taking and the effect this is having on the families of the CTV victims," he said.

"I can only reiterate again that this is a very complex, technical investigation and our priority must be to ensure it is conducted methodically and thoroughly, taking into account all the relevant expert advice, before we can reach a final decision."  

Tim Elms, who lost his daughter Teresa McLean in the building's collapse, was patient and understood the investigation process took time.

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"It was nearly six years ago so we're quite used to waiting."

He said police had been in constant communication with him and other families.

"We did have a briefing a couple of weeks ago so we understand where they [police] are at and it's up to them [whether to prosecute]. I'm sure they will come to the right decision in the end."

Maan Alkaisi believed there was enough evidence for police to prosecute and wanted to see them do so. His wife Maysoon Abbas died in the CTV building.

"First we want justice, second we want to make sure this will not happen and that we have learned lessons. The fact that those people responsible for the [building's] design are still working is really worrying," he said.

"We want to send the message to the whole construction industry that they need to raise their game. They [need to] know there are consequences and people will chase them for six years until justice is done."

He said the Kaikoura earthquake in November demonstrated the importance of the investigation to the country.

"We cannot afford to have one more building collapse because one building cost us 115 lives."

Read said the November quake and availability of relevant engineering experts had delayed some advice police were waiting on.

The review of the file by the Christchurch Crown Solicitor would be progressed once this further commentary was received.

 - Stuff

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