Prisoner assaulted, but not dropped - parents

5:48 pm on 29 July 2015

The parents of a prisoner who died after he was transferred from Mt Eden prison believe their son was assaulted up to three times while he was at the prison, but not dropped from a balcony as has been claimed.

Image from Nick Evans Facebook page.

Photo: Facebook

Nick Evans died in hospital in June after he was diagnosed with a ruptured lung, following a transfer from Mt Eden prison to Ngawha prison in Northland in May.

The lawyer for his parents, Matt Goodwin, said he was writing today to Corrections and Serco, which runs Mt Eden, to request all files, records and other information about Evans that might explain what happened.

They were interested in two time periods, Mr Goodwin said - what happened while Evans was at Mt Eden, and how he was treated after he was transferred to Ngawha.

The family had pieced together some information from what Evans had told them while he was in prison, and from other sources, Mr Goodwin said.

"Our understanding is that he was assaulted [at Mt Eden] by inmates on two or three occasions, so we need to see how seriously those assaults were taken - we do know that he ended up in the segregated unit there."

However, they did not believe he was dropped from a balcony, as Labour's corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis has claimed, Mr Goodwin said.

"What may have led to this dropping allegation ... is that there was another inmate who was being transferred to Ngawha, who we understand had fallen off a balcony and had two broken legs.

Part of Mt Eden prison, Auckland, New Zealand.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Avenue

"So it appears there's been confusion between the two inmates."

Evans complained of chest pain when he was transferred to Ngawha prison in Northland, but received no medical attention until he collapsed 24 hours later, Mr Goodwin said.

Even after a doctor recognised that something was seriously wrong, Evans was taken back to Ngawha and not transported to hospital until the next shift change at the prison, Mr Goodwin said.

"Now we need to drill down into the paperwork and find out what records Serco have, and what records Corrections have, so far as those two time periods."

Corrections has formally taken over the management of Mt Eden prison from private operator Serco while a string of other allegations - including a fight club, contraband and prisoner injuries - are investigated.

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