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Charges dropped against brothers over deadly White Island volcano eruption



Landowners of the White Island volcano have had the charges for safety failings leading up to the deadly 2019 eruption against them dismissed.

The blast killed 22 people, including 14 Australians, and led to workplace safety watchdog WorkSafe launching New Zealand's biggest safety prosecution.

Today, District Court Judge Evangelos Thomas said a prosecution could not feasibly be laid against the owners – Andrew, James and Peter Buttle – as individuals.

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Instead, their company Whakaari Management Limited (WML), will still face charges, along with other tourism operators.

"There is no evidence in this case of what happened behind the boardroom door at WML," Thomas said.

"Without that evidence, I cannot assess what a reasonable director would have done had they been placed in that director's shoes."

The Buttles own the island, found 50 kilometres offshore north of Whakatane, and earned around $920,000 ($NZ1 million) a year from the tourism that took place on it, according to the prosecution.

Forty-seven people were on the island when it erupted in 2019.

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