Police launch criminal probe into CTV collapse

CTV building an hour after collapse, photographed by NBR's Chris Hutching

The police in Christchurch are going ahead with a criminal investigation into the collapse of the CTV building on February 22, 2011.

Detective Superintendent Peter Read says he has advised the families of those who died in the building collapse of the decision.

The building collapse resulted in the deaths of 115 people.

The investigation  follows evaluation of information from various sources over the past 18 months.

"Based on this information, we now believe there is sufficient evidence to warrant further criminal investigation into the collapse," Mr Read says.

The Police have engaged the services of engineering consultants Beca to provide an expert opinion about the cause of the CTV building collapse.

Beca was also asked to provide expert opinion on whether there were any serious departures from accepted standards by those involved in the building's design or construction that could amount to gross negligence.

While Police are still waiting some aspects of Beca's assessment, most of the work has now been completed.

A group of investigators has been set up to gather more information and re-interview some of those who have previously given evidence at the Canterbury Earth Quake Royal Commission, as well as any others who could assist with the investigation.

The CTV collapse has also been the subject of Institution of Professional Engineers NZ disciplinary hearings and a coroner’s hearing.

Evidence at these hearings was presented by families of victims.

For example, one young student trapped in the collapsed CTV wreckage texted her father on her cellphone about 4pm: “Daddy I won’t make it”.

Some trapped people survived until midnight or later based on their cellphone communications.

Poor Fire Service organisation was identified during the rescue but other investigations focused on the liability of the designers and builders, particularly engineer David Harding who was employed by Alan Reay.

c.hutch@clear.net.nz

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