14 Sep 2015

Inmate on trial over $4m prison riot

1:56 pm on 14 September 2015

A prison inmate accused of taking part in the Springhill prison riots has been captured on CCTV footage allegedly smashing through a window with a pole and drinking homebrew out of a milk carton.

Lewis Taiaroa has pleaded not guilty to three charges relating to the rampage in June 2013, which was allegedly fuelled by homebrew and involved 22 other prisoners.

Taiaroa has denied damaging prison property, repeatedly assaulting a Corrections officer with a metal pole and fuelling a fire, that was already alight, with toilet paper.

The senior Corrections officer in charge at the time has told the court Taiaroa was among a group of inmates who appeared drunk off a homebrewed concoction, and then got involved in riotous behaviour which had him fearing for his own life and his staff.

Taiaroa's lawyer said his client was let out five minutes earlier than the others to go to a medical appointment, but returned a short while later and did not get involved.

A detective police sergeant has shown the court 20 short clips of CCTV footage from the prison, pointing out Taiaroa standing by the remains of a barbeque he allegedly damaged and ramming a volleyball pole repeatedly into the staff base windows.