Hamilton Council postpones court appearance over zoo death

Samantha Kudeweh was killed by male tiger, Oz, while carrying out route duties inside the animal enclosure at Hamilton Zoo. Photo / Supplied via Facebook
Samantha Kudeweh was killed by male tiger, Oz, while carrying out route duties inside the animal enclosure at Hamilton Zoo. Photo / Supplied via Facebook

The Hamilton City Council has postponed its first court appearance in relation to its prosecution after of one of its zoo keepers was mauled by a tiger.

Samantha Kudeweh, 43, was killed by male tiger, Oz, while carrying out routine duties inside the animal enclosure at Hamilton Zoo on September 20, last year.

WorkSafe, police and Ministry for Primary Industries investigated the incident before WorkSafe announced in March it was prosecuting the council under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The council was due to appear in the Hamilton District Court this morning facing a charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Mrs Kudeweh was not exposed to hazards arising out of working with Oz.

However, council's legal team last week pushed out the first appearance date from this morning to June 9.

The council met on Thursday for an extraordinary council meeting at noon to discuss how to plead in relation to the charge. However, the results of that meeting have been kept under wraps.

The charge, which carries a maximum fine of $250,000, alleges the council breached Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 by failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Mrs Kudeweh was not exposed to hazards arising out of working with the tiger Oz.

Samantha is survived by her husband, Richard, who also works at the zoo, and their two children Billy 9, and Sage, 3.

- NZ Herald

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