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Police to revisit Stephen Dudley probe

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/05/2017

Police are having another look the Stephen Dudley case to see if they need to revisit their investigation or prosecution following the Auckland teen's death in a post-rugby practice brawl.

The coronial report into the 15-year-old's death was released this week, with coroner Gordon Matenga finding the 2013 assault on school grounds was a key cause of Stephen's cardiac arrest.

He also suffered from a previously undiagnosed heart condition.

The two brothers who attacked him, aged 15 and 17 at the time, pleaded guilty to assault, were discharged without conviction and given permanent name suppression after the incident.

The Dudley family have written to the solicitor-general asking for manslaughter charges to be laid.

On Friday afternoon, police issued a statement in response to the coroner's findings.

They said Stephen's death was thoroughly investigated at the time and the prosecution handled by the Crown.

"In light of the coroner's findings, police may look to review the case to determine whether any aspects of the investigation or prosecution need to be revisited," said Waitemata police district commander, Superintendent Tusha Penny.

Mr Matenga cleared the school - which cannot be named - of any blame in Stephen's death, saying it had a zero-tolerance policy towards violence, despite evidence from Stephen's family that there was a "culture of violence".

In his recommendations, the coroner said the school should develop a programme for year nine students to learn CPR and use an automated external defibrillator as part of first aid training.

He also said the Ministry of Education should set up guidelines for schools around purchasing defibrillators, which would include appropriate training for staff and students.

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