5 Feb 2021

Seventeen Waikeria Prison inmates appear in court in relation to last month's unrest

4:48 pm on 5 February 2021

Seventeen inmates charged with causing major damage at Waikeria Prison last month have appeared in court.

Waikeria prison

Waikeria prison. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The men are each charged with rioting, riotously destroying property, burglary using a weapon, and wilfully setting fire to property and endangering life.

One of the men appeared in the Auckland District Court today, and the other 16 appeared in Hamilton District Court.

A major building at the prison, in Northern King Country, was destroyed by fire after inmates took to the roof and held staff at bay for five nights.

The accused appeared in court separately via video link before Community Magistrate Ngaire Mascelle.

All have been remanded in custody to reappear in court later this month

While one pleaded not guilty, the others did not make a plea.

Ten of them have interim name suppression.

Those that can be named are: Matangirau Cuff, Siaumau Lote-Telea, Taimana Soames, Parata Taite, Peter Te Hau, Leon Huritu, Ian Larkins.