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OPC court hearing delayed

Published: 2:38PM Thursday November 20, 2008 Source: NZPA

Department of Labour charges against the outdoor pursuits centre which ran a fatal canyoning trip in April will not be heard until next year.

Six students and a teacher from Auckland's Elim Christian College died when they were hit by a torrent of water while canyoning in the Mangatepopo Gorge near Turangi on April 15.

Last month the department laid four charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act against the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre (OPC).

The hearing was due to get under way in Taumarunui District Court on Thursday but a department spokeswoman said the matter had been delayed and would not now reach court before the new year.

Two charges related to OPC's obligations to protect the instructor who went into the gorge with the students and teacher. The third related to OPC's obligation to ensure that its employee's actions did not expose others to avoidable risks.

And the fourth charge related to OPC's obligation to appropriately ensure the safety of other people in the place of work.