The six men behind a failed application to reopen the Pike River royal commission are now considering their next moves.
An inquiry into the West Coast disaster - which killed 29 men when the mine exploded on November 19, 2010 - looked at the causes of the tragedy, as well as the search and rescue operation that followed the explosions, existing relevant law and its administration and implementation.
A group of six former employees and board members, including chairman John Dow and chief executive Peter Whittall, lodged an application to Wellington's High Court, stating they believed new evidence filed to the commission after hearings ended in April should be publicly heard ''in the interests of fairness''.
Justice Ronald Young dismissed the application in a decision released today, saying he was satisfied the applicants were informed of all evidence before the commission during the main inquiry and had had the opportunity to respond.
Law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts released a joint statement on behalf of the six men this afternoon, saying its clients were currently reviewing the High Court's judgement and considering "the most appropriate way forward".
"It remains their wish to support the Royal Commission and ensure that its findings are based on fairly tested evidence and made in accordance with natural justice," the statement said.
Dow, Whittall, board members Ray Meyer and Stu Nattrass, and managers Stephen Ellis and Robb Ridl had wanted the inquiry to reopen public hearings to hear the oral evidence and allow cross-examination of three former Pike River employees.
A lawyer assisting the inquiry had sought statements from the three - technical services manager Udo Renk and middle managers Terry Moynihan and Greg Borichevsky - after public hearings ended in April.
Justice Young noted the commission had said it would provide opportunity for the men to respond to any proposed adverse comment before the release of their report, which was due to be provided to the Governor-General by November 28.
He also said there was no reason to delay the release of the report.
''I am satisfied there is no reason based on prejudice to any fair trial rights of the applicants to delay release of the report nor any breach of natural justice requiring delay to the release of the report.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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