Charges laid over Paritutu Rock deaths

Press Release – Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment

Charges laid over Paritutu Rock deaths The Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre (TOPEC) has been charged over the August 2012 Paritutu Rock incident in which three people died. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employments Health …Charges laid over Paritutu Rock deaths
The Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre (TOPEC) has been charged over the August 2012 Paritutu Rock incident in which three people died.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Health and Safety Group laid four charges in the New Plymouth District Court today alleging TOPEC failed in its safety obligations to its employees and students.

On 8 August 2012 Instructor Bryce Jourdain and students Felipe Melo (of Brazil) and Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye) were swept off Paritutu Rock and drowned during a TOPEC-led traverse in bad weather conditions.

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The centre is charged with:
• failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee Bryce Jourdain (who died in the incident)
• failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that a volunteer instructor from Germany was not exposed to hazards of high and powerful seas in his place of work
• failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of its employee while at work harmed any other person
• as a person who controlled a place of work failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no hazard that arose in the place of work – high and powerful seas – harmed people who were in the place with tis express consent and who had paid to undertake an activity there.

The charges have been laid under Sections 6, 15 and 16 (the maximum penalty $250,000) and Section 50 (maximum penalty $500,000).

Editors please note: As charges are now before the court, the Ministry is prevented from making any further comment on the charges or the case itself. The Ministry’s Investigation Report will form the basis of the four charges and will not be available for release until the conclusion of court proceedings.

The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online: http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1992/0096/latest/DLM278829.html

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