Emily Jordan Inquest

Father of Emily Jordan, the British tourist drowned in a river boarding ‘accident’ in New Zealand, has told reporters that an inquest into his daughter’s death is to be held at long last. But it is to be heard in Britain.

According to the Southland Times (emphasis ours)

…Ms Jordan’s father, Chris Jordan, speaking from England yesterday, said he expected the United Kingdom inquest would be completed within the next three months.

The New Zealand coronial system refused to hold an inquest, even though I requested one before the trial,” Mr Jordan said.

It was standard for an inquest to be held for any non-naturally occurring death in the UK, he said.

“The coronial system should be a true and independent system equipped to deal with something like this. That was what I wanted to see, and clearly that didn’t happen. I was disappointed the New Zealand coronial system would not hold an inquest, and am relieved one will be held here,” he said.

Although the inquest would not trigger any further legal action, it would shed light on the circumstances of his daughter’s death, Mr Jordan said… read the full report here

Through Mr Jordan’s actions, and following a large number of other tragic deaths,  the government of New Zealand was persuaded to undertake a review of its largely unregulated adventure tourism industry. At one stage Mr Jordan referred to the regulation of NZ’s adventure tourism industry as “Third World.

Following the review new regulations were introduced. They shied away from introducing a licensing system, opting instead for a register of operators who will be required to undertake regular safety audits. A long lead-in to the enforcement of the regs means that all companies will have three years to have comply with them when they take effect in October 2011. For more about guidelines for the industry read this newspaper report.

A New Zealand inquest was expected to be held but that hope was ‘lost’ after Black Sheep Adventures Ltd, trading as Mad Dog River Boarding, pleaded guilty for Ms Jordan’s death and was fined. The circumstances of her death and the regulation of the industry were lost again in the wider ranging review of New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry.

During the trial operators were alleged to have been operating in a regulatory vacuum:

In his second day in the witness box, Mad Dog River Boarding then-operations manager Nicholas Kendrick told Queenstown District Court the company was operating without specific governing regulations, as they hadn’t yet been created.” source

Before the defence presented its case a charge of not ensuring employees’ safety and three related charges against the company’s managing director, Brad McLeod, were suddenly withdrawn. The company then changed its plea to guilty on the remaining two charges.

The Queenstown coroner, David Crerar, once admitted admitted to Scene that there were:

a number of ancillary matters relating to the death of Emily Jordan that could be the subject of closer scrutiny

But said he was waiting to see if they were addressed in the adventure tourism report. Since then there has been silence. Read “No NZ inquest for Emily Jordan.” At that time we blogged

“Here we are, almost three years on since Emily Jordan died and there has still not been a full inquiry, nor has there been an inquest in NZ.
The circumstances of Emily’s death, risk being being rolled-up together into the general investigation into adventure sports and getting conveniently ‘lost’ within it, never to be heard of again.

For that to happen would be manifestly unjust, Emily and her family deserve better.”

We hope that the British coroner is able to make a full and unhindered investigation and we will be following the hearing and welcoming comments. At this time our thoughts are with Emily Jordan’s family and friends.

For background please see posts tagged Emily Jordan

Mad Dog River Boarding / The River Boarding Co.

Mad Dog River Boarding is now called The River Boarding Co. and has the same owner Brad McLeod.

In September 2009 we blogged about how the company was still trading, had appointed a media consultant and had applied to expand its operations.

for more on this please read our posts tagged  Mad Dog River Boarding