Action over collapse crucial - families

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2012
Dr Maysoon Abbas
VICTIM: The husband of Dr Maysoon Abbas, pictured, Maan Alkaisi, says families will be let down if no prosecutions are taken.

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Family members of CTV victims and survivors are outraged at suggestions prosecution against those linked to the faulty building may be too hard to pursue.

Legal experts Nigel Hampton, QC, and Professor Bill Hodge told The Press that criminal or civil cases against those involved would be difficult to prove.

Maan Alkaisi, whose wife, Maysoon Abbas, 61, was killed in the building collapse, said families would be let down by the legal system if no one was held accountable.

"If the legal system doesn't prosecute people like this, what else can you do? How are we going to make sure this is not going to happen again?

"It's sending a message that people can go and do anything."

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson yesterday said families would struggle to move on unless people were held responsible for the tragedy.

"You can't have 115 people lose their lives in a tragedy like this and somebody not be held to account," he said.

CTV receptionist Maryanne Jackson, who fled the six-storey building when the earthquake started, said the idea of no legal liability made her "sick".

"If the Government gets enough pressure they'll have to do something.

"We're not a third world country, we have a legal system and we have to use it."

Hisao Yoshida, president of Toyama College of Foreign Languages, which lost 12 students in the collapse, said he would be paying close attention to how responsibility was handled.

"It was nearly unbearable for me to read about each of the possible causes of the tragedy in the report."

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- The Press

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