6 Jan 2010

Court scanning machine not used in wake of bomb alert

2:09 pm on 6 January 2010

Security levels at the Christchurch court complex have not changed visibly despite a bomb threat which caused part of the city to shut down for almost six hours on Tuesday.

A suspicious package was found on the second floor of the Christchurch court building at 11am and a controlled explosion was carried out by the army's bomb squad about two hours later.

The package was wrapped in duct tape and had wires protruding from it, and when detonated by the army was found to contain white powder which was not dangerous.

Several surrounding buildings were also evacuated and an important one-way system was closed though the central city for most of Tuesday afternoon.

Inspector Derek Erasmus says all the steps taken by police were necessary, as ensuring the area was safe even after the package had exploded was paramount.

However, the court's scanning machine, which is stationed at the front door and scans everyone entering the court complex, was not in use on Wednesday morning.

One court worker told Radio New Zealand that extra security was in place, but would not talk about what that entailed.

Court sessions were disrupted on Tuesday but this was due to ongoing industrial action by court staff.

An investigation is continuing into who put the elaborate device in the courthouse.