Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Butcher Report suppression lifted

Court suppression of the Butcher Report - the once-secret army report into the fatal collapse of a bridge built for King Country couple Keith and Margaret Berryman - has now been lifted.

Story here and here.

Wellington High Court judge Justice Wild said "it would be futile to stop publication of the report now it is in the public domain." Good on everyone reading this who helped to put it there.

News too this morning that in 1986 Keith Berryman signed a document taking full responsibility for the army-built bridge. Says David McLoughlin's 'Dominion' article:
The Berrymans' lawyer, Rob Moodie, said yesterday that he knew of the document but believed the army could not enforce it, because Mr Berryman was a layman, not an engineer... Dr Moodie said the agreement Mr Berryman signed did not absolve the army of liability for the major construction defect that led to the collapse.

Though Mr Berryman "certainly had liability" for maintaining the bridge, he had signed the agreement as a layman and not an engineer.



Blogger Rich said...

In business (and a farmer is in business, not a consumer) you sign contracts all the time that an average laymen would not know the full implications of without taking advice - most financial agreements for instance. It's a matter for the judgement of each party to decide to take advice - from an accountant or engineer, etc.

If contracts were voided by lack of specialist knowledge, then the bill of sale of every car or property sold without inspection would be void.

5/05/2005 01:02:00 pm  

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