Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Mid-air crash email: ex-CAA investigator accused

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

A man who allegedly forged an email presented to an inquest into a mid-air collision was a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) investigator.

Flight examiner David Fielding, 30, and student pilot James Taylor, 19, died on February 17 2008, when their helicopter and a Cessna piloted by Bevan Hookway, 17, collided above Paraparaumu.

During the inquest Mr Fielding's family received an unsolicited email purporting to be from aviation expert Professor Frank Sharp, manager of Professional Programmes at Massey University's School of Aviation.

Prof Sharp denied any knowledge of it.

Name suppression expired this morning for Peter Kirker, a former CAA safety investigation manager, who has been charged with forgery, use of a forged document and perverting the course of justice, the CAA said in a statement.

When the CAA became aware of the allegations, Kirker was suspended from his job pending the outcome of an employment investigation.

But before this was completed Kirker unconditionally resigned from his employment with the CAA, which came to an end last Thursday.

"The CAA expects the highest standards of conduct from all of its staff, and the issues that have arisen in respect of Mr Kirker's employment would not be tolerated by the CAA from any staff member.

"The CAA regrets the involvement of a CAA staff member in such action as this, and is deeply concerned about the impacts the alleged actions may have on the Inquest, and in particular the families of Mr Fielding, Mr Taylor and Mr Hookway.''

The inquest resumed today.

- APNZ

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