Six Christchurch prisoners charged with rioting

January 13, 2017 | By More

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

Six inmates at Christchurch Men’s Prison have been charged with rioting over an incident in which four Corrections staff were allegedly attacked in November.

They all appeared by video-link from the prison at the Christchurch District Court and were remanded in custody without plea.

Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger, Kerry Cook, Lee Lee Heah, Josh Lucas, and Tony Garrett asked for interim name suppression for the men, to preserve their rights to a fair trial because they are prison inmates.

The order was made by Judge Paul Kellar because it was their first appearances, but he said it would have to be argued in detail if it was to remain at their next appearance. In one case, the order was made because the inmate already has a jury trial scheduled in the District Court.

The group, aged between 22 and 28, are all jointly charged with taking part in the riot on November 9. The charge alleges they were “members of a group of six or more persons who, acting together, were using violence against persons to the alarm of persons in the neighbourhood of that group”.

All face up to three charges of injuring, or assaulting Corrections staff members with intent to injure. In total, the charges refer to four prison officers.

It is understood the incident happened in Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Rawhiti unit as staff were moving prisoners back inside from the yard area.

Several prisoners apparently refused to comply with the order and the acting unit manager was then called.

He was allegedly punched in the face and stabbed with a sharpened piece of wire by a prisoner who was being searched, causing a black eye and several cuts. His stab-proof vest prevented any injury from the wire.

Paramedics were not called to the prison. The Corrections officers were treated at the prison with follow up treatment from their own GPs, acting prison director Russell Watkins said at the time.

All the alleged rioters were remanded in custody to further appearances at court by video-link on February 2 and February 9.

 

 

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