Judge Potter made this statement in the High Court yesterday while referring to a claim filed against government by the estate of Mary Dean, which is represented by three plaintiffs related to the deceased.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer was Ben Marshall and Crown Law’s senior legal lawyer Kathy Bell represented the Attorney General’s office.
The plaintiffs are claiming $2,568,144.50 over government’s alleged negligence and other matters that led to the triple killings of October 19, 2016.
Judge Potter said: “Given this is such an important and delicate matter, it’s wise I maintain control of it. It is very important that we progress now. It does seem to me this is very important and cannot be allowed to drag. It is one that can well be resolved through settlement, so this family is not left with the matter dragging over its head, they obviously have been through a lot,” she said.
Judge Potter said her part is to assist and to intervene on the matter in order to keep the case on track.
Marshall said he would have to file an amendment to the claim after Crown Law’s substantial discovery last week.
Judge Potter said that following the review of that material by the appropriate parties, the plaintiffs will file an amended statement of claim and the Attorney General will file a statement of defence to the amended statement of claim.
She said the progress of the case needed to be carefully monitored and kept on track.
“I require from counsel a joint memorandum by July 15, to advise me of progress and to set out an agreed time table to further advance the proceeding.”
Furthermore, Judge Potter said that defence counsel for the Coroner Tim Arnold also filed a memorandum on November 15 last year.
She said as Arnold was not present in court a copy of the minute is to be provided to him immediately and if there were aspects of the matter Arnold wanted to discuss he must seek access through the court’s registry.
“The role of the coroner and any decision he may make about the inquest is entirely independent of this proceeding. It is desirable that he may be kept in the picture,” she said.
In an earlier article it was reported that the late Dean was shot multiple times by former partner and escaped prisoner Chris Rimamotu on October 19, 2016 and he used a .22 rifle to shoot Dean’s new partner Roger Tauarea, who later died in the hospital.
The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant is liable for the actions of the prison service and the prison warden who escorted Rimamotu and other prisoners on the day of the incident.
They further alleged the defendant is liable for the actions of the police service and the police officer for graphic details on the manner of the incident and deaths to one of the plaintiffs causing trauma to the mental health of the person.
They also made claims based on the wrongful death of Dean, the economic loss, psychological injury to a close family member, exemplary and public law damages.
Both counsel Bell and Marshall are to advise Judge Potter on the progress of the matter by July 15.