An inquest into the death of a 15-year-old killed while a passenger in a stolen car fleeing police five years ago has been delayed after an eleventh-hour application by a family member.
Ethan Dallas Takitimu-McKenzie died after Mongrel Mob member Fabian Jessie Mika crashed a stolen Toyota Hilux in Christchurch in 2013.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) criticised police officers for not abandoning the pursuit earlier, when Mika sped up the wrong side of a dual carriageway.
A coronial inquest into the Takitimu-McKenzie's death was due to begin before coroner Peter Ryan in Christchurch this morning but a family member, who is also a witness, asked for more time to instruct and prepare with his lawyer.
Ryan suppressed further details of why the inquest was put off.
A new hearing date may be set later this year.
Mika and his three passengers passed a police officer at speed in a stolen Toyota Hilux on New Brighton Rd in Christchurch on February 22, 2013.
Mika sped down the wrong side of Linwood Ave - a dual carriageway – but the officer kept following him, twice failing to hear police communications telling him to abandon the chase as it was too dangerous.
He heard a third request as Mika further accelerated along Dyers Rd. Passengers reported he was doing about 150km/h and pleaded with him to slow down.
Around one minute later, another police patrol saw the light-blue Hilux had crashed on Dyers Rd, where the speed was reduced to 50km/h because of road works.
Takitimu-McKenzie died from injuries suffered in the crash.
Mika fled but was later arrested. He was sentenced at the High Court in Christchurch to six years and nine months jail in September 2013 after pleading guilty to manslaughter, driving while forbidden, failing to stop or ascertain injury and failing to stop when followed by red and blue flashing lights. Mika unsuccessfully appealed his sentence.
The IPCA investigated the chase, which lasted almost six minutes and covered about 9km.
It found police "generally complied" with policy in the early stages of the pursuit, but the chasing officer should have pulled out of the pursuit when Mika went up the wrong way of a dual carriageway.
"His decision to do so posed an unjustified risk to members of the public, the police, Mr Mika and his passengers," said IPCA chairman, Judge Sir David Carruthers.
However, he stressed that Mika's actions caused the tragedy.
The IPCA probe also criticised police over the arrest of Takatimu-McKenzie after a reported scuffle outside The Palms shopping mall in Shirley earlier in the night.
When officers arrived, they say the teen became abusive and aggressive towards them and when he failed to calm down, he was arrested for disorderly behavior.
After the teen relaxed in the back of the police car, he told them he was just 15 years old.
Officers dropped him off without charge at a bus stop near a house Takatimu-McKenzie claimed he had been staying with his brother.
The address was not checked, however, and his parents or guardians were not told he had been arrested.
The IPCA found that the officer failed to comply with police policy by releasing the boy without first consulting his supervising officer and subsequently failing to properly document the arrest. The IPCA report said the failures were "undesirable".