13 Dec 2010

Decision reserved over alleged breach of inmate's rights

6:38 pm on 13 December 2010

A court has reserved its decision in a case about whether or not a convicted murderer's rights were breached when the Department of Corrections destroyed items from his cell.

Stephen Hudson has taken a judicial review of the department's actions in the Wellington High Court.

He is serving at least 16 years in prison for the murder of a Palmerston North drug dealer.

In 2008, Corrections officers removed a Cosmopolitan magazine and hand-drawn pictures of a Celtic cross and a woman in her underwear from his cell.

The department admitted the items were not destroyed in Hudson's presence, as the Corrections Act requires, but opposed his request that the court make a declaration that his rights were breached.

Justice Joseph Williams said it was difficult for him to make a decision about whether or not the pictures were objectionable without seeing them, which he can not do because they have already been destroyed.