'One year and a day law' heads to Cabinet

  • 19/03/2018
The CTV building collapse accounted for the bulk of the quake's 185 deaths.
The CTV building collapse accounted for the bulk of the quake's 185 deaths. Photo credit: Reuters

Cabinet is expected to consider changing the 'one year and a day law' in the Crimes Act on Monday, which played a part in the police decision not to prosecute over the CTV building collapse in the Christchurch earthquake.

The CTV building collapsed after the February 22, 2011 earthquake, killing 115 people including 65 foreign students. It accounted for the bulk of the quake's 185 deaths.

Last year police made the decision not to prosecute anyone over the collapse saying they did not believe a prosecution could have succeeded over the building's design.They also stated that they did not have enough evidence to lay charges.

Police had investigated potential charges of negligent manslaughter against engineers Alan Reay and David Harding, who were responsible for the CTV building's design in the 1980s.

The rule, which is explained under the Crimes Act as death to have taken place within a "year and a day" after the defendants' negligent conduct ceased - was an obstacle to prosecution in this case, Crown Law stated last year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met with the victims' families in February and stated that she and Justice Minister Andrew Little "agree (the rule) no longer has a place in our law" and they were working hard to see what can be done about it.

Maan Alkais, who lost his wife in the collapse, is pushing for the case to go through the courts.

"There is something wrong happening and we can't just leave it," he said.

Mr Alkaisi has previously called the police's decision morally and ethically unjustified and wants to see someone held accountable.

NZN