Human error blamed for man forgotten in court cell

6:11 pm on 31 March 2017

Human error and miscommunication were to blame for a man being left in a court cell for 48 hours, police say.

In January, the man, who has name suppression, was granted bail after appearing in the Masterton District Court on a Saturday for allegedly breaching bail while facing a drink-driving charge.

Masterton District Court.

Masterton District Court Photo: Google Maps

He was then put in a small windowless holding cell while paperwork was being filled out, but was left there and was not discovered until Monday morning.

The cell had a toilet and water, but no food or bedding, and his lawyer said at the time that the man was mentally tormented by the experience.

Wairarapa Area Commander Donna Howard said the police staff involved regretted the error and acknowledged the distress it caused the man.

"On this occasion we fell below the standards of service rightly expected of us and we have put steps in place to help ensure it does not occur again.

"I am confident that the measures now in place will prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future," she said.

Inspector Howard said she had met with the man and his wife to apologise.

Police had been in contact with the Independent Police Conduct Authority throughout the investigation, she said.

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