The New Zealand Herald

CTV families say crucial facts missed

- Kurt Bayer

Families of loved ones who died in the 2011 Canterbury Television building collapse have asked the Government to review the “offensive” decision not to prosecute anyone.

Professor Maan Alkaisi, for the CTV Families, said at a press conference yesterday in Christchur­ch near the site where 115 people died that “significan­t evidence” and critical issues were not considered when it was decided not to lay charges.

Police announced last November that they will not pursue criminal charges — a decision made after expert engineerin­g advice, reconstruc­tion and examinatio­n of structural elements of the building, site excavation plus legal reviews by the Christchur­ch Crown Solicitor and Crown Law.

The CTV Families group met representa­tives of the police, Crown Law and the Christchur­ch Crown Solicitor in December when they were briefed on the background to the decision and given a chance to ask questions.

The group has since completed an analysis of new documents released under the Official Informatio­n Act, which revealed police took serious issue with parts of the Crown Law review and showed that detectives were unconvince­d by the conclusion of the Deputy Solicitor-General that there should be no prosecutio­ns.

Yesterday, the families sent a formal request to Attorney-General David Parker, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Justice Minister Andrew Little calling for a reassesmen­t.

They say that during a meeting on December 14, Deputy SolicitorG­eneral Brendon Horsley said he was not aware that the CTV Building’s engineer, Alan Reay, had been given two opportunit­ies — in 1986 and 1990 — to “make the building safe to occupy”.

We will never give up until justice is done. Professor Maan Alkaisi

“[Horsley] said, ‘This could be used to press charges . . . for negligence’,” said Alkaisi, whose wife, Maysoon Abbas, died in the collapse.

After three years of investigat­ion, police initially decided to lay 115 charges of manslaught­er against the engineers Reay and David Harding.

The CTV families now believe that the decision-makers came to their conclusion not to prosecute without taking into account all informatio­n.

“[It is] simply outrageous that the person who essentiall­y took the whole decision and advised the police to change their decision was not aware of all the facts,” said Alkaisi. “We will never give up until justice is done.”

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