Manslaughter charges the only option in CTV building earthquake case
Police will only consider manslaughter charges in their investigation of the CTV building collapse.
The building – which collapsed in the February 22, 2011, earthquake, killing 115 people – has been the focus of a four-year investigation by police. They are yet to decide whether or not criminal charges should be laid.
Stuff understands the only charges they are considering are 115 counts of manslaughter. No corporate manslaughter, or similar charge, exists under New Zealand law.
Police met family members of the 115 victims this week, included those from overseas visiting Christchurch for February 22 anniversary commemorations, to update them on progress in the investigation. Their report is complete but they have yet to decide whether to prosecute. A decision is expected by the middle of the year.
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In the meantime, police have commissioned a second peer review of expert analysis in the case provided by Christchurch engineering consultants Beca.
Detective Superintendent Peter Read, who is leading the investigation, said with the anniversary of the earthquake on Wednesday, police would not discuss the nature of the meeting publicly "at this stage".
"Even our lawyers that have been working on it say this is really, really complicated. Whatever recommendation we make or made must still be ratified by lawyers and they might have a completely different take on it."
The Royal Commission into the Christchurch earthquakes found the Christchurch City Council should not have granted a resource consent for the CTV building.
The report said engineer David Harding, who designed the building in 1986, was left largely unsupervised by his boss, engineer Alan Reay, despite Harding's limited experience designing multi-level buildings.
The commissioners found the design had non-complying aspects, that Harding was working "beyond his competence", and that Reay did not review the design.