New Zealand’s Earth-science research agency, GNS Science, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges laid in the wake of a devastating volcanic eruption in 2019
that left 22 people dead and 25 injured. The charges allege that the agency failed to ensure the health and safety of helicopter pilots it hired to take its employees to the island,
and that its volcanic alert bulletins were insufficient.
A guilty verdict could leave other scientific agencies that provide information about natural hazards, such as earthquakes, floods and wildfires, questioning what information they can provide without incurring liability.