Police investigating the deadly
collapse of the CTV Building during the February 2011
earthquake have engaged an expert engineers firm to review
The engineering review is part of an ongoing assessment by
police to determine whether any criminal investigation should
begin into the collapse of the six storey building.
Of the 185 people killed in the disaster, 115 perished in the
Madras St office tower, and nobody has been found criminally
liable for the building's collapse.
A private briefing was held this morning between police,
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials and
family members of victims.
They were told that police hope to be in a position to make a
final decision on whether any criminal investigation will
commence by the third quarter of this year.
Detective Superintendent Peter Read said police have
contracted Beca, a large engineering firm with offices
throughout New Zealand, to provide expert opinion on
engineering issues raised in the assessment to date.
Their review will involve a panel of senior engineers,
including some with experience in the 1980s environment in
Christchurch. The panel's opinion will also be subject to an
international peer review.
Mr Read said this next phase of the police assessment
followed on from extensive reviews of the report and
investigation from the former Department of Building and
Housing (now part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and
Employment) as well as the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal
Police have also reviewed the findings released to date of
the coroner's inquest held to determine the causes and
circumstances of all earthquake-related deaths. Further and
final findings from the inquest are due this year.
"While the findings of the Royal Commission are of great
assistance to police in our assessment, the Terms of
Reference set for the Royal Commission meant it did not make
any determinations as to the question of liability," Mr Read
"The standard of proof required in a criminal prosecution is
of a far higher threshold than that required in the Royal
"Police must be able to establish facts beyond reasonable
doubt, whereas the Commission of Inquiry made many of its
determinations on the balance of probabilities.
"For any possible prosecution to be commenced, Police would
have to determine that a crime has been committed by an
individual in breach of the provisions of the Crimes Act
1961. There is no charge of corporate manslaughter under New
"We also need to be sure there is sufficient evidence
available to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction of
any person charged with a crime."
Mr Read said the highly technical nature of the assessment
meant expert advice was needed to help identify any act or
omission that may have led to the building collapse, whether
it could be attributed to any individual and whether it could
be considered grossly negligent.
Christchurch marked the third anniversary of the killer quake
on Saturday at the city's Botanic Gardens.
- By Kurt Bayer of