12 Dec 2011

Biscuits confiscated before fatal attack on prison officer

6:22 pm on 12 December 2011

A court has been told a prison officer retrieved a stolen packet of biscuits from an inmate's cell a day before he was killed.

An inquest into the death of Jason Palmer, 33, is underway in Auckland District Court.

Mr Palmer died in May last year after he was punched by inmate Latu Kepu while trying to transfer him from Spring Hill Prison in North Waikato.

Corrections officer Arul Prakash has told the court Mr Palmer had earlier removed some biscuits from Kepu's cell, which Kepu had stolen from another inmate.

Mr Prakash said he was not aware of Kepu making any threats to Mr Palmer and he was shocked by the attack.

However, Roger Hinton, who was a corrections officer at the time, told the court he had been aware Kepu had threatened Mr Palmer.

He admitted he had not recorded the information.

Kepu was sentenced to six years and four months jail for Mr Palmer's manslaughter.

Up to 18 witnesses are expected to give evidence during the inquest, which is set down for three days.