16 Feb 2017

Court of Appeal dismisses Pike families' legal bid

5:34 pm on 16 February 2017

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a bid by two Pike River families to challenge the decision that let the mine's chief executive escape prosecution.

Protesters, including Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse, are sitting in at the mine.

Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse (center) took their legal bid to the Court of Appeal. Photo: Supplied

Worksafe New Zealand charged Peter Whittall with 12 charges relating to the disaster, which killed 29 men.

Mr Whittall offered a voluntary payment of $3.41 million to the families if the prosecution offered no evidence against him, and Worksafe New Zealand agreed to drop the charges.

That was challenged by Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse, who both lost family members.

They argued that Mr Whittall's undertaking was an unlawful bargain to stifle a prosecution.

When the High Court dismissed their application, they took their case to the Court of Appeal, which today upheld the High Court's decision.

The Court of Appeal found Mr Whittall's payment was one factor in their decision that a public prosecution was no longer in the public interest.

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