24 Jul 2015

Police review inmate death investigation

6:04 pm on 24 July 2015

Police are reviewing their initial investigation into the death of an inmate after being in Mt Eden Prison.

Mt Eden Prison

Photo: RNZ

The prison inspectorate is already looking into Nick Evans' death, one of three cases which have bought the company Serco, which runs the Auckland prison, under intense scrutiny.

Labour's corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis has alleged the prisoner was dropped from a balcony by other inmates at the Mt Eden jail in May and subsequently died from his injuries after his transfer to a Northland jail.

Police say they are reviewing the investigation they carried out into the death, which they conducted on behalf of the coroner.

They say that at this stage there is no information to suggest that the circumstances warrant a wider investigation.

A lawyer for Nick Evans' family, Martin Hislop, said he spoke to police this morning and he understood the investigation would be underway next week.

He said the family want accountability and answers over whether Nick Evans was assaulted in Mt Eden.

He said it was premature to talk about manslaughter, though that had been mentioned in an online post by the Evans family overnight.

"They have been told by some individual that there was an altercation between Mr Evans and another inmate but that is unfortunately under investigation now.

"We hope that police investigate whether there in fact was an assault."

Mr Hislop said Mr Evans was moved from Mt Eden to Ngawha Prison for space reasons and, though given a clean bill of health twice, fell ill and died in hospital.

He said a senior officer in Auckland, Kevin Burke, was leading the investigation.

Minister meets head of Corrections

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga met with his department's chief executive this morning following fresh allegations of violence at the Mt Eden jail.

Peseta Sam LotuIiga

Sam Lotu-Iiga Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Minister's office has confirmed Mr Lotu-Iiga met with Ray Smith today but was providing no other information at this stage.

Mr Smith confirmed last night that a prisoner, who was this week transferred from Mount Eden to another facility, was injured, and has since made serious claims of mistreatment.

He had asked the Chief Inspector of Prisons to investigate these claims, and other allegations that have surfaced this week.

In February, Mike Littleton's son Alex was injured in what Corrections says was a fall from a landing in a cell block at the prison.

It's understood Mr Smith will make an announcement regarding Serco this afternoon.

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