17 Sep 2015

Inmate's defence rejected by court

4:44 pm on 17 September 2015

The Crown is rejecting a prison inmate's defence that he was badly beaten up and then forced to take part in the Springhill riots two years ago.

Lewis Taiarua is being tried by a judge on three charges of damaging prison property, arson and repeatedly assaulting a Corrections officer with a volleyball post during the homebrew-fuelled rampage

In his closing arguments, Crown prosecutor David Johnstone disagreed with the defence that Taiarua had been stomped on, had his ribs smashed and his life threatened if he didn't co-operate with other inmates on the morning of the riots.

Taiarua's lawyer Kerry Burroughs told the court his client, who suffers from anxiety, feared for his life after the attack on him and felt he had no choice but to obey orders.

A decision on the Crown's application to give further evidence will be made next week before Justice Heath gives his verdicts.

Taiarua has been remanded on bail to reappear in court on 29 September.