Fatal bridge collapse saga continues in court of appeal

The long-running case of a former King Country farming couple trying to clear their name after a fatal bridge collapse on their property in 1994 continued at the Court of Appeal in Wellington today.

Beekeeper Kenneth Richards died when the bridge built by the army for Keith and Margaret Berryman collapsed under the weight of his honey-laden utility.

In the High Court last month, Justice Jill Mallon quashed a 1997 finding by Taumarunui coroner Tim Scott that said responsibility "must largely lie" with the Berrymans.

The decision was heralded as a partial victory for the couple as they were unsuccessful on a number of other fronts - including their bid for a judicial review of the Solicitor-General's decision not to order a new inquest into the death of Mr Richards.

In the Court of Appeal today the Berrymans were claiming damages in a misfeasance suit.

The Berrymans' lawyer Rob Moodie said the case was about the army making false submissions and providing false evidence that the bridge was well built and that there was nothing in the army's design or construction that contributed to the accident.

New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) lawyer Hamish Hancock said the Berrymans' claim should be struck out because their allegations of misfeasance "cannot possibly succeed".

Mr Hancock said the Berrymans had failed to provide "intelligible particulars" of damages or economic loss.

"...none of their alleged losses have a sufficient logical or causal link to the NZDF's alleged wrongdoing," he said.

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