Defence Force goes back to court over death of SAS soldier

10:55 am on 19 October 2021

The Defence Force has failed in its bid to have charges dismissed which were laid against it by WorkSafe over the death of an SAS solider.

New Zealand Army soldiers inside an Australian Army vehicle during the mission rehearsal exercise for Task Group Taji 3 at RAAF Edinburgh, with about 300 Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen prepared for deployment to Iraq in exercise at RAAF Edinburgh in Adelaide, South Australia.

Photo: NZDF / Supplied

Lance Corporal Nicholas Kahotea died in Auckland Hospital in May 2019, after taking part in an exercise at the SAS training facility in Ardmore.

WorkSafe filed charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act a year later.

At a hearing in June, the Defence Force argued there was an exemption from that Act, for operational counter-terrorism response activities.

But in a judgment this morning, Judge Lovell-Smith said health and safety laws do apply in this case, and declined the Defence Force's application to have the charges dismissed.

The case will be back in court next month.