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Owners Of Whaakari/White Island Seek Charges To Be Dropped

The owners of Whakaari/White Island are seeking to have charges by Worksafe against them, in relation to the 2019 eruption, dismissed.

Whakaari Management Ltd (WML) owned by Andrew, James and Peter Buttle are charged with failing to understand the island's hazards or make sure there was a safe way to evacuate.

However, WorkSafe argued the Buttle brothers did nothing to protect its visitors - and they should have.

The Buttle's lawyer, David Neutze told the Auckland District Court yesterday, "the charges were defective because they didn't outline what should have been done, and therefore where the Buttles had failed."

WorkSafe Prosecutor Kirsty McDonald denied Neutze's claim, saying the Buttles were made well aware of the case they're facing.

McDonald said "the owners did nothing to protect its visitors - and they should have."

The Buttle brothers are one of several parties charged by WorkSafe for alleged health and safety breaches.

Yesterday's hearing also saw one of two charges by WorkSafe against GNS Science relating to the Whakaari eruption dropped.

Judge Evangelos Thomas ruled dropping NEMA's charges weakened Worksafe's case.

The National Emergency Management Agency had it's charges of health and safety breaches thrown out in May.

The other charge against GNS Science relating to the safety of helicopter pilots will go to trial.

In another hearing today, Whakaari/White Island owners will find out in less than two weeks whether the charges against them will be dropped.

Judge Thomas said, he would deliver his decision on October 18th.

The charges don't relate to the events of the eruption, or the rescue efforts.


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