Key Points:

The Sensible Sentencing Trust intends to privately prosecute parole failures under health and safety legislation, starting with the Graeme Burton case.

The trust has legal advice that the events leading to Burton's murder of Karl Kuchenbecker breach the laws, and has written to the Department of Labour asking why it has not prosecuted the agencies or individuals involved.

The trust asks the department's chief executive, Brian Blake, why charges have not been laid against those involved in Burton's release, like those the Outdoor Pursuits Centre faces for the Mangetepopo River tragedy.

The trust is using Chapman Tripp lawyer and former MP Stephen Franks to advance its case.

In his letter to Mr Blake, seen by the Herald, Mr Franks cites Burton's release as an example of a death and injury inflicted on innocent people by criminals on parole.

Mr Franks says Burton's murder of Mr Kuchenbecker appeared to have breached the Health and Safety Act, which requires that every employer and employee take all practicable steps to ensure that "action or inaction" do not harm any other person.

Offences under the act carry a penalty of up to two years' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $500,000.

Mr Franks says the Department of Corrections, police and the Parole Board should all be prosecuted.

He also names "public employees", including Police Commissioner Howard Broad, Corrections chief executive Barry Matthews, the Rimutaka Prison manager at the time of Burton's release, and individual police and probation officers involved.

The letter calls for "strenuous efforts" to be made to charge the responsible ministers.

Mr Franks says the department has previously charged people "whose actions have been entirely well-intentioned".

"For example, you are currently pursuing enforcement against the

Outdoor Pursuits Centre over the loss of the school students swept away by a flash flood, despite massive public support for that organisation, and concerns that any additional exposure for their mistake will add to the pressures to eliminate risk exposures for kids who volunteer for them and thicken the cotton wool now surrounding our young people."

Under the law, first go at a prosecution is reserved for the Department of Labour before private interests can decide to take one.

There is also a six-month time limit, but Mr Franks' letter says that the Sensible Sentencing Trust will consider applying for an extension.

Trust chairman Garth McVicar told the Herald that even if it could not prosecute the Burton case because of time limits, the letter was "a shot across the bows" that it would prosecute the next similar case.

A Department of Labour spokesman said the department had not yet received Mr Franks' letter, but would examine the issues once it did and Mr Blake would respond directly to Mr Franks.