17 Dec 2010

Judge rules destruction of inmate's items unlawful

8:23 pm on 17 December 2010

A High Court judge has ruled that the Department of Corrections acted unlawfully when it destroyed items from the prison cell of a murderer.

Stephen Hudson is serving at least 16 years for killing a Palmerston North drug dealer.

In 2008, Corrections officers removed a Cosmopolitan magazine and hand-drawn pictures of a Celtic cross and a woman in her underwear from his cell.

The department admitted the items were not destroyed in Hudson's presence, as required under the Corrections Act, but opposed his request that the court rule on whether his rights had been breached.

Hudson sought a judicial review, and Justice Williams has now ruled that the items were destroyed unlawfully.

But the judge says because the items in question are unavailable, he is unable to declare that Hudson's rights were breached in the process.