7 Feb 2011

Police cleared of wrong-doing in fatal pursuit

10:06 pm on 7 February 2011

A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into a pursuit in Christchurch in which a fleeing driver killed two people has cleared the officers of any wrong-doing.

Phillip Bannan ran a red light in August last year as he tried to evade police, colliding with a car carrying Norman Fitt and Deidre Jordan.

The IPCA report says the two officers tried to get the 22-year-old to pull over when they recorded him doing 89km/h in a 50km/h zone. A pursuit began after he ignored them.

The report says the pursuit lasted about 30 seconds and was abandoned when officers saw Bannan speeding towards an intersection where the lights were red.

Bannan crashed at the following intersection, killing Mr Fitt, 73, and Ms Jordan, aged 67.

The report says the officers were justified in starting the pursuit and none of their actions were against the law.

Canterbury Acting District Commander John Price says the report finds the officers followed correct procedures throughout the pursuit and acted professionally.

Mr Price says it was a tragic outcome, but it was Bannan's decision to flee and ultimately his fault that the crash happened.

Bannan was jailed for nine years in December last year.