A coroner was left in disbelief in court today after learning important information surrounding the death of an 11-year-old girl had been kept from her.
Almost a week into the inquest into a 2018 bus crash on Mt Ruapehu that killed Hannah Francis, it has been revealed an internal investigation was completed by the mountain and bus operator, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.
The company's former chief executive Ross Copland had previously refused to talk publicly about investigations into the 2018 crash, despite leading the company at the time an internal investigation, which included a mechanical inspection, was initiated. Ruapehu Alpine Lifts hasn't shared the findings with the coroner or the police.
Now it's been revealed he initiated an internal investigation after the crash, which included a mechanical inspection, but he hasn't shared the findings with the coroner or the police.
When asked by the coroner if the independent review included a mechanical inspection he replied he "believed" it covered mechanical.
The coroner said she was "disappointed" the information hadn't come out until halfway through the inquest.
Copland has laid blame on the driver of the bus, but the driver himself says the brakes failed and the crash was not his fault.
"Had the driver followed the driver's training that the driver asserts he was given and was competent to follow, I don't think we'd be here today," Copland said.
But under cross-examination, he accepted the bus's brakes had been modified in a way that made them unsafe.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts says part of its internal investigation is legally privileged and that's why it hasn't shared it with the coroner.
The coroner has demanded an explanation by Monday.
This article was amended on December 12. The original version incorrectly stated Copland had previously refused to talk about the crash; and that he had overseen the investigation, when in fact he only initiated it.