28 Mar 2011

Prison officer killer's appeal dismissed

2:23 pm on 28 March 2011

The first person ever to kill a prison officer in New Zealand has had his appeal against his sentence dismissed.

Latu Kepu was jailed for six years and four months for the manslaughter of Jason Palmer at Springhill Prison in Waikato in May last year.

The sentence in the High Court in Hamilton was imposed with a non-parole period of just over four years.

Kepu was already serving a sentence of two years and eight months for injuring a police officer.

Kepu's lawyers said the sentence was too long and the judge applied a disproportionate uplift because of his previous convictions.

But the Court of Appeal says the attack was deliberate and premeditated, and the fact that he was already in prison for injuring a police officer was an aggravating factor.