One of the companies charged with safety failings over the Pike River Coal mine explosions has admitted charges, but former company chief executive Peter Whittall has had his case put off.
VLI Drilling admitted three health and safety charges in Greymouth District Court on Tuesday, relating to the deaths of 29 men in the West Coast mine in 2010.
However, lawyers did not appear for either the Pike River Coal company or Mr Whittall, Fairfax reports.
The judge agreed to adjourn Whittall's case to a later date, while VLI Drilling will be sentenced on October 26.
A hearing for Pike River Coal, which faces 10 charges, will be held on the same date.
In a statement, the company's receivers PwC said they had informed the court that no plea would be entered.
"Following the completion of the sale of the mine and related assets to Solid Energy, [the company] is in effect a bare shell," PwC's John Fisk said.
The company still owed a lot of money to both its secured and unsecured creditors and PwC did not think it was in their interests in spending money on looking at the case.
"This is simply a pragmatic decision given the circumstances."
The next steps were up to the court and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, which had brought the charges, Mr Fisk said.
In such cases it was usual for the court to enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendant and the ministry would attempt to prove the charges.
Meanwhile, Whittall's lawyer, Stacey Shortall, has previously said that Whittall will rigorously defend himself against the 12 charges he faces.
They are linked to failures of methane explosion management, strata management, ventilation management and mitigating the risk and impact of an explosion.The breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 each carry a maximum penalty of $250,000.
Would you intervene in a life-threatening crisis?Vote
Copyright © 2013 Yahoo! New Zealand
All rights reserved.
Select your region to see news and weather for your area.