4 Mar 2020

Steel & Tube to face second appeal over substandard steel mesh

5:35 pm on 4 March 2020

The legal battle over substandard steel mesh, between Steel & Tube and the Commerce Commission, is continuing.

Steel mesh, concrete

Steel mesh used for concrete flooring. Photo: 123RF

The Commerce Commission has won the chance to bring a second appeal over a $2m fine imposed on the listed company last year.

Steel & Tube argued the fine, which was double the highest fine ever imposed on a single entity under the Fair Trading Act, was "manifestly excessive" and inexplicably high.

The Court of Appeal said in its ruling released today the applications to appeal a second time were in the public interest.

"The proper approach to attribution for the purposes of sentencing a corporate defendant for offences of this type raises a matter of general or public importance," it said.

The fine had already been raised on appeal by the commission, up from $1.88m.

It then sought a second appeal last September, saying the courts should have considered if the company acted knowingly or deliberately.

It argued the judge also erred by "failing to adequately take into account the size of Steel & Tube and the potential for it to gain from the conduct".

Steel & Tube had sold thousands of sheets of seismic mesh for reinforcing concrete floors that were not tested and approved in the way it said it was.

RNZ revealed this in March 2016, after concerns were raised over the standards the mesh was meant to be tested to in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake damaging concrete slab floors of many homes four years earlier.

Steel & Tube has always said its misrepresentations to the public were unintentional.

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