4 Dec 2014

Smith upset hairpiece taken, not eating

7:09 pm on 4 December 2014

Murderer and child molester Phillip Smith is on hunger strike at Auckland Prison, claiming his dignity - including his hairpiece - has been taken away.

Smith, who fled the country while on temporary release from prison, is now being held at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.

Tony Ellis

Lawyer Tony Ellis Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

He was jailed in 1996 for stabbing to death the father of a boy he had been convicted of sexually assaulting.

Smith flew out of New Zealand on 6 November while on a three-day release from Spring Hill prison in Waikato. He fled to Chile, then on to Brazil, and was recaptured in Rio de Janeiro on 13 November.

His lawyer Tony Ellis has this morning visited him for the first time since he was deported from Brazil.

Mr Ellis told Radio New Zealand outside the prison that Smith said his dignity had been taken away.

"He's had his hairpiece removed, he's had his glasses removed and he's been stripped of his dignity, he said. All his clothing has been removed and he's just got a sort of hospital gown thing on. He's got no things of interest in his cell. There's no TV, no books, no papers."

He said Smith told him he was not allowed any books, a television or a toilet.

Smith has been classed as at-risk and is being held in his cell for 23 hours a day.

He has said he was prepared to go to the High Court if he was not allowed to be interviewed by the media.

Mr Ellis said he did not think his client was a suicide risk and the conditions he was being held in seemed extreme.

The Department of Corrections would not comment on the claims.

Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith being handed to New Zealand officials at a Rio de Janeiro airport. Photo: Brazil Federal Police

Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.

Auckland Prison at Paremoremo. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

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