'Year and a day' law to be repealed by Government

Justice Minister Andrew Little and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Justice Minister Andrew Little and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo credit: Getty/ file

The Government will repeal a law that was a factor in the police decision not to prosecute over the CTV building collapse during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

"This is no longer a provision in our law that is allowing justice to be done," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in her weekly press conference on Monday.

The 'year and a day' rule under the Crimes Act placed a strict timeline on pursuing criminal justice cases after someone had died.

Death had to have taken place within a "year and a day" after the defendants' negligent conduct ceased.

The rule was cited as an obstacle to prosecution in the CTV case, Crown Law stated last year.

Previous Justice Minister Amy Adams asked for advice on the year and one day rule, and Ms Ardern Justice Minister Andrew Little had moved to prioritise changes to the law.

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.