Hon Kit Toogood QC to lead University investigation

02 October 2019

Former High Court Judge Hon Kit Toogood QC has been appointed by the Chancellor on behalf of the University of Canterbury Council to lead the investigation into the delay in discovering the death of a student at Sonoda Village residential hall where he lived.

  • Chancellor Sue McCormack

The University Council head, Chancellor Sue McCormack said: “The completely independent investigation is expected to take about six weeks and the findings and any recommendations will be made public. Mr Toogood’s finding will be made public as soon as possible after an exhaustive and thorough investigation.  Confidentiality and sensitivity in the process is paramount.  Full support will be offered to those impacted. A confidential email account will be set up so that anyone with concerns or information can contact him personally.”

In consultation with Hon Kit Toogood QC, UC has prepared the terms of reference to ensure a comprehensive investigation that will begin immediately.

Mr Toogood has been granted full independence to conduct this inquiry and today he met with the family to discuss the process he will follow.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey said the University will assist fully with the investigation and is doing everything it can to support the Police and Coroner’s work into the death of Mason. 

“The support of students remains our priority and student care support services are readily available to students, including academic support, counselling, health and wellbeing and financial.  Again, on behalf of the Chancellor and myself we extend our deepest sympathies to the family,” she said.

Summary of Terms of Reference

The aim and scope of the investigation is to establish:

  1. The circumstances surrounding the delay in the discovery of Mason’s death.
  2. Whether any concerns about Mason’s welfare were raised by any party with UC, CLV, or anyone else.
  3. Whether there was any response to any such concerns.
  4. The policies, processes and procedures in place at UC and CLV to monitor and respond to student welfare issues at Sonoda, and whether those policies were adhered to,
  5. Whether any improvements to those policies, processes and procedures are recommended by the investigator, and any additional policies, processes or procedures required; and
  6. Any other relevant matter that the Investigator considers necessary.

The full terms of reference can be found here. Use this email to send confidential comments to the Investigator: Email Inquiry

Please note that the family have requested that we only refer to Mason, as “Mason”, without a surname.

The investigation has commenced and there will be no media interviews from UC or the Investigator during this period.

  • Hon Kit Toogood, Sue McCormack and Cheryl de la Rey

    Hon Kit Toogood, Chancellor Sue McCormack and Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey

*For individual images please email communications@canterbury.ac.nz.

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