Real estate agent found not guilty over Christchurch tattoo parlour death

Matti McEachen was killed in the Southern Ink building when it collapsed in the 2011 earthquake.
Matti McEachen was killed in the Southern Ink building when it collapsed in the 2011 earthquake. Photo credit: Supplied

A Christchurch real estate agent has been found not guilty of disgraceful conduct after a man died as he tried to flee the building he managed in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. 

A Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal found property manager Christopher Chapman failed to meet industry standards by not informing Southern Ink of safety issues after the 2010 earthquake, but could not prove disgraceful conduct.

Bruce McEachen's son Matti, 25, was working inside the tattoo parlour when he was killed by falling masonry as he tried to flee the building in the 2011 earthquake. 

Mr McEachen is reeling over the decision, and says the family is "gutted".

"It's an unbelievably decision. It's been seven years. One-hundred-eighty-five people died in the earthquakes and this is the only case that came close to going to court. And to know that we lost, it's absolutely gut-wrenching.

"He walks away scot-free and yet we've lost our son. It's a cruel world."

The tenants had repeatedly asked if the building they were in was safe, but they were given no answer, he says. 

"I think it's a gutless decision by gutless people," Mr McEachen says.

Jeanette McEachen's, Matti's mother, says she feels like the family has been "sideswiped". 

"We feel Chris Chapman needs to be held accountable for his actions and his negliences."

The family is not yet sure whether they will lodge an appeal.

Mr Chapman has been reached for comment.

Newshub.