Family questions why quake-hit building occupied

9:28 pm on 18 May 2011

The family of a man killed by falling masonry in the Christchurch earthquake want to know why the building he was in was allowed to be occupied.

Jaime Gilbert was one of five people whose deaths were the subject of an inquest on Tuesday. The earthquake on 22 February killed 181 people and inquests on 14 victims have been completed in Christchurch.

Mr Gilbert and his sister, Amy Cooney, ran out of the bar they were working in at the time of the quake, but he was crushed by falling bricks.

Ms Cooney says she believes the building was red-stickered after the earthquake on 4 September 2010 and she wants to know why it was deemed safe to work in again.

Mr Gilbert's father, Robert Gilbert, told Morning Report the building was rapidly resold.

He wants to know how and why the decision was made to allow the building to be used.

"I want to know that nobody's been negligent or greedy or broken rules and if somebody has they certainly should be held accountable ... so that as we build a new city we can learn."

"Lets not make the same mistakes ever again, if mistakes have been made."

Amy Cooney says she hopes to the information she wants from the upcoming Royal Commission.

Further inquests in June

The Chief Coroner says the next inquests for the earthquake victims will focus on those who died in the Canterbury Television building on 22 February.

On Tuesday, Judge Neil MacLean authorised the issuing of death certificates for five people, and a day earlier confirmed the deaths of nine unidentified people who had perished in the CTV building.

He says the Waikato Coroner, Gordon Matenga, will preside over the next inquests which will be held at Riccarton Racecourse next month.

Judge MacLean says he hopes the two days of hearings conducted so far have offered the families some comfort, and the same must be done for many others.