Prisoner suing Corrections over alleged prison rape

8:42 pm on 23 August 2017

A prisoner who says he was raped by his cellmate is suing the Department of Corrections for what a lawyer said was hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A cell block at Auckland South Corrections Facility.

Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The revelation emerged today as the prisoner gave evidence in the trial of his former cellmate, William Katipa.

Katipa has denied 14 charges, including sexual violation and threatening to kill. The Crown said he sexually abused three of his former cellmates.

The witness said Katipa repeatedly raped him over a week while they shared a prison cell. He said at one point, Katipa threatened him with a knife and told him not to say anything about what had happened.

Under cross-examination from Katipa's lawyer, Andrew Speed, the witness confirmed he had instructed a lawyer who has filed papers in the High Court.

Mr Speed said the witness was suing Corrections for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The witness said he had not seen the final papers filed with the court but believed the figure was $90,000.

He confirmed there were inconsistencies between the claim filed and the evidence he had given in court but said he had not seen a draft of the papers before they were filed.

The witness confirmed it was a large amount of money and would change his life. At one point he told the court his lawyer had struggled to get hold of him because he is homeless.

The court was also told about the witness's criminal record.

He has convictions for aggravated robbery. He confirmed he and a friend approached a man on Queen St. His friend held up an open umbrella to stop passers-by from seeing what was happening while he showed the man a knife and asked him for his cell phone.

Police caught him, charged him and gave him bail but that didn't stop him approaching two other people and threatening them with knives and demanding cash and cigarettes.

The witness said he was on synthetic drugs at the time.

He also confirmed he had convictions for shoplifting.

Mr Speed also asked him about a bomb threat he had made while in prison.

The witness said he had made the call in an effort to avoid being beaten up by another prisoner.

Mr Speed implied the bomb threat was evidence that the witness had made false complaints in the past.

Katipa's defence is that the allegations are made up but the witness maintained he was telling the truth.