Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

New evidence in Pike River tragedy

The entrance to the Pike River Coal mine. File photo / Simon Baker
The entrance to the Pike River Coal mine. File photo / Simon Baker

Legal action is being taken against the Royal Commission into the Pike River explosions to force it to hear further evidence into the tragedy.

The lawyer for the mine's former chief executive, Peter Whittall and other directors, Stacey Shortall, said today they have received new evidence since the commission concluded its hearings.

''... these former Pike River directors and officers believe should be publicly heard in the interests of fairness.''

Papers have been filed with the High Court at Wellington seeking a review of decisions made by the commission in relation to the evidence.

Ms Shortall said because the matter was now before the court, there would be no further comment.

Earlier this month, Ms Shortall had asked the commission be recalled to hear evidence from three witnesses.

For now, the new evidence is on the secure commission website and remains confidential, but it is all from former Pike River Coal Ltd technical staff member Udo Renk and middle managers Terry Moynihan and Greg Borichevsky.

The new evidence came to light three months after the commission closed its public hearings in Greymouth.

Ms Shortall wanted to be able to cross-examine the men, test the weight of the evidence, and ensure there was as much evidence before the commission as possible.

"Let them tell their story,'' she said.

It would ensure the commission's findings were robust, she said.

Families' spokesman Bernie Monk said if the commission had to reconvene, "so be it''.

"What has to be done, has to be done, for the sake of finding out the truth.''

- APNZ

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