Controversial libel law repealed in Parliament

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 6 March 2019, 7:41a.m.
The law has prevented charges in recent years, including the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake CTV building collapse.

An 'archaic' law that prevents people from being charged for someone's death if they died more than 'one year and a day'  after the crime has been axed.

A repeal of the 'year and a day rule' passed its final reading last night.

This rule was one of the main reasons charges weren't brought against the CTV building engineers, despite 115 people dying after it collapsed in the Christchurch Earthquake.

Maan Alkaisi's wife died in the CTV building collapse and told Kate Hawkesby although he was pleased to see the law repealed, he feels there are still other changes which must be made.

"It is a step in the right direction, but it still has a way to go. It still comprises public safety because the rule doesn’t apply for any existing buildings, it will apply for buildings built after this new bill passes."

Alkaisi says that eight years on from the devastating earthquake, he is still searching for answers over the collapse of the CTV building.

"Only two years ago we recognised the eighth anniversary. After so many investigations and hearings, we don’t have any closure or justice, so we definitely need a fair solution to this case."

Criminal defence lawyer Nigel Hampton told Mike Hosking the law is well past is use by date and the right decision has been made to repeal the law.

"This should have gone a very long time ago, we were talking about getting rid of this in 1989.

"It was an artificial device to clause a limitation on death if there had been an unlawful act like an assault. If a patient had survived for over a year and a day, the person who perpetrated the assault couldn't be charged with murder or manslaughter."

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