Former High Court judge to lead investigation into student's death at University of Canterbury

A former High Court judge will lead the investigation into the discovery of a student's body at the University of Canterbury.

Kit Toogood QC has been appointed by the university's Chancellor to lead the investigation into the delay in discovering the death of a student at Sonoda Village residential hall where he lived.

Mason Pendrous' body was found last week, after his absence reportedly went unnoticed for two months.

"The completely independent investigation is expected to take about six weeks and the findings and any recommendations will be made public," said the University Council head, Chancellor Sue McCormack." Mr Toogood's finding will be made public as soon as possible after an exhaustive and thorough investigation. Confidentiality and sensitivity in the process is paramount."

McCormack said Toogood had been granted full independence to conduct his investigation.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey said the university would do everything it can to support police and the Coroner.

"The support of students remains our priority and student care support services are readily available to students, including academic support, counselling, health and wellbeing and financial," she said.

"Again, on behalf of the Chancellor and myself, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family."

The investigation aims to establish the circumstances around the student's death, whether any concerns about his welfare were made to the university at any time and whether there was a response to any such concerns.

The university's policies, processes and procedures to monitor and respond to student welfare issues at Sonoda Village would also be assessed, as would whether there could be any improvements to those policies.


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