4 Feb 2015

Forestry worker's family seek judicial review

1:48 pm on 4 February 2015

The family of a man who was killed in a forestry accident near Rotorua have filed court action after a judge tried to stop them taking a private prosecution.

David McMurtrie, 49, died almost two years ago when a tree he was felling landed on him in Houpoto Forest in the Bay of Plenty.

His family have asked for a judicial review of a judge's decision which means they can not try and prosecute the company Mr McMurtrie worked for, Maunga Waru Logging.

President of the Council of Trade Unions, Helen Kelly, said the judge ruled that the family could not act because they had left it too long and the fact they did not know they could prosecute is not an excuse.

She said the family thought Worksafe might have intended to prosecute the company, so they did not go ahead.

"This family feel that there really should have been a prosecution in relation to Dave's death.

"And the circumstances in which he was working were unsafe and they want justice, like any family would."

Ms Kelly said they have yet to get a date for the hearing.

The inquest into Mr McMurtrie's death was supposed to start in Rotorua Coroners Court today, but has been put back until April by the Coroner.

Mr McMurtrie's death is one of eight being examined by Coroner Wallace Bain.

Coroner Bain also plans to hear evidence from expert witnesses before delivering his findings into all eight deaths.

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