15 Sep 2015

Inmate feared for life, court told

7:07 pm on 15 September 2015

A prison inmate was fearful for his life so he obeyed orders from other inmates to join in the Springhill riots, a court has been told.

Lewis Taiaroa is being tried by a judge on three charges, following the six hour-long rampage which involved more than 20 inmates in June 2013.

Taiaroa has told the court he was dragged into a cell and beaten up just before the rioting started.

He said he was scared that he would be more seriously hurt if he did not follow orders to raid a room and a kitchen for clothing and food and stash it all in a cell.

Taiaroa also denied assaulting a Corrections officer with a volleyball post, saying he knew the officers and would not have attacked them.

When asked by the Crown to identify whether it was him in several clips of CCTV footage, Taiaroa said he could not be sure.