The Supreme Court has held that WorkSafe should not have dropped its case again Pike River mine boss Peter Whittall. Whittall originally faced twelve health and safety charges. These were dropped when he reached an agreement with WorkSafe to pay $3.4 million to two of the survivors and the families of the deceased miners. This payment was funded by Mr Whittall’s insurer. The High Court and Court of Appeal held that this agreement was not unlawful. The Supreme Court overturned this, finding that it is contrary to the public interest and unlawful for an arrangement to be made that a prosecution will not be brought or maintained on the condition that a sum of money is paid.
The Supreme Court held that the agreement with WorkSafe was an unlawful agreement to stifle a prosecution. Despite this decision, Whittall will not be charged as any charges are now time barred.