4 Apr 2012

Case for collective responsibility urged

12:10 pm on 4 April 2012

The lawyer for six senior managers at the Pike River mine says instead of blaming those in charge at the time of the disaster, everyone involved in the mine's operations should be found collectively responsible for what happened.

The Royal Commission on the November 2010 disaster is winding up after 11 weeks of hearings.

Lawyer Stacey Shortall told Wednesday's hearing that her clients only came to Pike River relatively late in the piece.

She said the mine was originally the idea of Gordon Ward, the chief executive until two months before the explosions that killed 29 men.

Ms Shortall said unlike her clients, who had admitted the mine's shortcomings, Mr Ward was hiding in the shadows.

She also claimed the Department of Labour laid charges against Mr Whittall as a way of deflecting criticism of its own lack of action over safety issues at the mine.