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Convictions entered against Pike River Coal Ltd (in receivership)
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Convictions entered against Pike River Coal Ltd (in receivership)

18 April 2013

At the Greymouth District Court this afternoon, Judge Jane Farish convicted Pike River Coal Ltd (In Receivership) on all nine charges laid by the former Department of Labour. The Judge indicated sentencing will be on the 4th and 5th of July this year

“These convictions follow a year-long investigation by a team which at times reached 15 members, and reflects the high quality of their work,” Brett Murray, General Manager High Hazards and Specialist Services said.

“The former Department of Labour charged three parties under the Health and Safety in Employment Act over the explosion which killed 29 men in November 2010.”

VLI Drilling Pty Limited (of Australia) was convicted on three charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act and in October last year, was fined $46,800.

The third case against the former CEO of Pike River Coal Ltd, Peter Whittall has still to be heard.

As there are still legal proceedings underway, the Ministry is unable to make any further comment at this time.

 

Notes to Editors

Pike River Coal Ltd (In Receivership) was charged with four offences of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees; four offences of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its contractors, subcontractors and their employees; and one offence of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of its employees harmed another person. These failures relate to methane explosion management, strata management, ventilation management, and mitigating the risk and impact of an explosion.

VLI Drilling Pty Ltd (Australia) was charged with one offence of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees; one offence of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of contractors, subcontractors and their employees; and one offence of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of its employees harmed another person. On 26 October 2012, the company was convicted on the charges and fined $46,800.

Peter Whittall is charged, as an officer of Pike River Coal Limited, with four offences of acquiescing or participating in the failures of Pike River Coal Limited as an employer; four offences of acquiescing or participating in the failures of Pike River Coal Limited as a principal; and four offences of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of his as an employee harmed another person. These failures relate to methane explosion management, strata management, ventilation management, and mitigating the risk and impact of an explosion. Mr Whittall has pleaded not guilty to all charges. On 14 March, Mr Whittall made an application to the Court to transfer the hearing to Wellington. Judge Farish reserved her decision and will release her written decision to the parties prior to 22 May.

 

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