4 Feb 2015

Civil action over prison death

5:40 am on 4 February 2015

The mother of Otago prisoner Jai Davis is appalled police will not lay charges over his death.

Jai Davis.

Jai Davis died in prison in February 2011. Photo: Supplied

Jai Davis, 30, died while on remand at the Otago Correctional Facility in February 2011 of a suspected drug overdose as he tried to smuggle drugs inside his body.

Police had been reviewing an earlier decision not to lay charges in light of evidence given to an inquest held in Dunedin last year.

The two-week inquest last December heard there were many signs Mr Davis was sick in the days before he died, but neither a guard nor nurse sent him to hospital.

After a major investigation police decided last April there was not enough evidence to lay charges.

Mr Davis' mother, Victoria Davis, says Detective Inspector Stephen McGregor rang her this morning to tell her Corrections has now admitted systemic failures in the case, so the case cannot be taken against any individuals.

"I find it appalling," said Mrs Davis. "There'll be more deaths out there if something isn't done."

She will now pursue civil action against the Corrections Department, and possibly guards and nurses, saying if there are no prosecutions Corrections will make no meaningful changes.

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