New Zealand mine boss pleads not guilty

2012-10-25 11:08

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • New Zealand
    The guide that shows you New Zealand what others only tell you. Now R287.00
    buy now

Wellington - The head of a New Zealand mine where 29 men died in a 2010 gas explosion pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that he failed to take adequate steps to prevent the blast.

Lawyers for Peter Whittall, former chief executive of the now-defunct Pike River Coal mine, said he would fight the allegations "with all the means at [his] disposal".

"He has been a coal miner all his life. He relates to, and identifies himself with, coal miners. He would never do anything or take any decisions which would endanger those with whom he worked," they said in a statement.

Whittall was in charge at the South Island pit when a blast tore through the colliery on 19 November 2010, killing all 29 men working there in New Zealand's worst mining disaster for almost a century.

He became the public face of the Pike River tragedy holding daily briefings for families and the media on the desperate, but ultimately futile, attempts to reach the blast site and search for any surviving miners.

In the wake of the disaster, New Zealand's Department of Labour laid 12 charges against him, including four of failing to take all practicable steps to prevent employees coming to harm.

Inquiry

"These failures relate to methane explosion management, strata management, ventilation management and mitigating the risk and impact of an explosion," the department said.

It said Whittall pleaded not guilty to all charges in Greymouth District Court on Thursday and will reappear on 14 March next year.

Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of $206 000.

A Royal Commission - the most powerful inquiry available under New Zealand law - is conducting a separate investigation into the incident. It has the power to recommend criminal charges if it believes they are warranted.

The disaster claimed the lives of 24 New Zealanders, two Australians, two Britons and a South African.

Their remains are still entombed about 2.5km into the colliery, with recovery teams so far unable to reach them because of fears that volatile gases remain in the mine shaft.

Mining stopped at Pike River after the explosion and the Pike River Coal company went into receivership soon afterwards.

Read more on:    new zealand  |  mining
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7699.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.