In 2017 I issued proceedings against the Attorney-General as representing Corrections seeking up to $1.5 million in compensation for 10 months solitary confinement I was unlawfully subjected to at Pare Max and for being rendered unconscious by Pare SERT (Site Emergency Response) Team so they could transfer me from Pare to Waikeria.
This has been slowly wending its way to trial, being delayed by numerous attempts on Corrections part to either strike it out (partly an argument over whether some of it was “torture” or “inhumane treatment”), whether parts were “out of time”, and every technicality a highly paid team from Meredith, Connell could come up with to delay a trial on the merits. They have been resoundingly defeated on every application they have brought.
You may wonder why Crown Law (the Government’s usual lawyers) aren’t representing Corrections. Meredith Connell have already been paid hundreds of thousands – money which would have better used settling this case.
They do not want the public seeing what really goes on behind prison walls being played out in a courtroom under oath. Finally I got a trial date, 6 weeks starting on 28 February 2022 in Wellington High Court.
You’re going to see the likes of former Corrections high flyer Vincent Arbuckle (now at MPI with Ray Smith – something incestuous about those two the way they follow each other around!) and current ones like Neal Beales, Jeanette Burns, Andy Langley, Solomon Nui, Tom Sherlock, Mt Eden Prison Director Dennis Goodin, Waikeria Prison Director Jim Watson; Uila Kirifi, Kasimilo Fulu, Sarah Bramhill, and more than 20 other lesser players including Paul Burrow, Malua Lavasii, Rob Beaton, Yanyan Jiang, Cherryl Robertson and Trish Herrick on oath and on the stand having to explain their actions.
Now in my experience many (not all by any means) Corrections staff are like cockroaches, shine a light on them and they scuttle off into the darkness unable/unwilling to explain their actions so this trial is going to be very interesting.
As expected Meredith Connell are beavering away trying to avoid the day of reckoning and they pulled a stunt before Justice Isac yesterday morning trying to get the trial delayed because they wont be ready in time. I mean I have to be ready and I haven’t got one of the country’s biggest law firms behind me with unlimited taxpayer cash funding me. The hearing fees alone in this case are over $94,000 which has to be paid in advance by me as the Plaintiff.
Fortunately Justice Isac was not prepared to allow any delay and upheld my objections so on 28 February next year I will be opening my case in Wellington High Court. Open to the public! Hopefully Kelvin Davis will wander across from the Beehive and see what has really been going on at Corrections!
Arthur Taylor is TDBs Prisoner Rights blogger