Government considering law changes after police refuse to prosecute over CTV collapse

The Government is considering law changes, after police refused to charge anyone over the deaths of 115 people in the CTV building during the Christchurch earthquake.

This means future designers and engineers could face corporate manslaughter charges similar to those seen overseas.  

Police have previously determined the CTV building was poorly designed, but they did not have enough evidence to charge designers with negligent manslaughter. 

"Here's a building that was negligently designed, collapses, kills 115 people and nobody is held to account for it," said Justice Minister Andrew Little. "That's not right and if there's a gap in the law, then we should be looking to fill it."

Government action would be welcomed by the families of the victims, with Christine Jackson, who lost her daughter in the building collapse telling Newshub: "There has to be something that helps to prevent people from doing this type of thing again."

Mr Little also wants to look at a clause in the Crimes Act, which states a prosecution for negligent manslaughter must be started within "a year and a day" after the negligent conduct ceased.

This was considered a bar to prosecution by police, because the CTV building was designed in 1986, but didn't collapse until 2011.

"That idea came from Crown law and I think it's wrong," said legal expert and Queen's Counsel Nigel Hampton. "It beggars belief."

Unfortunately for those affected by the collapse, any proposed law change would not retroactively apply to the events around the CTV building.