17 Jun 2013

Whittall trial to be held in Wellington

2:57 pm on 17 June 2013

Peter Whittall, former general manager of the Pike River Coal mine, has won the right to have his trial moved from Greymouth to Wellington.

Mr Whittall faces 12 charges under the Health and Safety Act relating to an explosion at the West Coast mine on 19 November 2010 in which 29 men died.

Two companies, including Pike River Coal, have been convicted in court of failing to take proper steps to ensure safety.

The Crown alleges Peter Whittal was in a position to ensure that safety procedures were carried out, but did not do so.

The counsel for Mr Whittall said on Monday the hostility to him in Greymouth and complexity and length of the case meant it would be better held in Wellington.

The application was opposed by the Crown but Judge Farish ruled in Mr Whittal's favour, saying it was in the interests of justice.