December 11, 2017

Pike River Mine managers hire top defence lawyers

Newswarped is confident that 29 men have been let down badly by their employers at the Pike River Mine. We are happy to apologise if that is proven to not be the case.

Former managers at the Pike River coal mine have hired top defence lawyers, ahead of a meeting with all parties involved in the disaster to discuss the recovery of the victims’ bodies.

The previoulsy united front between mine owners and managers is set to become a thing of the past. The managers say they believe the company will try to blame them for the disaster, where 29 men died in a series of explosions that started on 19th November 2010.

The police and labour department investigations are still ongoing and the Royal Commission hearings on the tragedy are scheduled to begin in July.

George Colligan, who worked as a contractor and trained staff at the mine for almost a year, has hired high profile criminal lawyer Greg King to represent him and four colleagues, Radio New Zealand has reported.

Colligan said he had done nothing wrong but believed the company’s lawyers would seek to put the blame for what happened on him.

The mine’s former safety and training manager, Neville Rockhouse, had also reportedly hired a lawyer.

Rockhouse’s youngest son, Ben, died in the mine. His other son, Daniel, was one of only two men to make it out alive.

He said he had hired a defence lawyer because he expected to have his reputation tarnished in his quest for the truth.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said there had been a lot of rumour floating about since the accident, and those involved with the mine were feeling vulnerable.

“This is a serious inquiry coming up. People are making sure they cover their backs,” he said.

The managers are right to get lawyered-up. The families of the victims and the wider communities are goaing to want answers and they are not going to be satisfied with platitudes.

Senior management by nature usually try and wriggle off the hook and shift the blame to the operational management on-site.

Heads will roll on this one. It is almost a given. A mine of this nature requires excellent safety systems in place, and these systems should have triggered alarms about the rising gas levels in time for the men to get out safely.

The fact that senior politicians have not been sighted in the area for some time is a good indication that this is not an operation to be seen to be connected with. They are currently privy to information that we do not have access too.