26 May 2015

Court hears why Whittall prosecution dropped

5:39 pm on 26 May 2015

The Crown says a range of factors was considered when the decision was made not to prosecute the former manager of the Pike River mine.

Peter Whittall

Peter Whittall Photo: AFP / FILE

Two families of men who died in the mine explosion in November 2010 have asked the High Court in Wellington to review the decision made by Worksafe New Zealand not to offer any evidence on the 12 charges Peter Whittall faced.

Mr Whitall was charged following the mine disaster in which 29 men died, but the prosecution did not proceed after an insurance payout of more than $3 million was made to the families.

The Crown lawyer Joanna Holden told the court today it was accepted by the prosecution that there was no causative link between Mr Whittall's alleged offending and what happened at the mine, and that was also the police's view.

Ms Holden said cost was also a factor, as was the availability of witnesses, because at least 14 of them were outside New Zealand.