16 Dec 2009

Coolstore prosecution to be challenged

9:42 am on 16 December 2009

The legality of the prosecution of two companies convicted for their part in the Tamahere coolstore explosion is to be tested in a higher court.

Icepak Coolstores and Mobile Refrigeration Specialists have been ordered to pay fines and reparation totalling more than $360,000 over the explosion which killed one firefighter and injured seven others on 5 April last year.

Icepak told the court that it reserves the right to challenge the validity of the charges.

Judge Robert Spear says that could end up nullifying the prosecution.

He says the issue is whether the prosecutions under the Health and Safety in Employment Act are criminal prosecutions or infringements.

He says there are different procedural steps, depending on the classification, and it's this that will be challenged at a later date.

Icepak has indicated it's now insolvent after its insurance liability was refused.