Liam Ashley Report: Findings And
In Late August 2006 Liam Ashley, 17, was assaulted in a Chubb security van as it was driven to the remand prison in Mt Eden, Auckland. Liam Ashley was in the van with George Charlie Baker, who has pled guilty to murder.
This morning the Department of Corrections released:
The Investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death at Auckland Public Hospital of Prisoner Liam John Ashley of Auckland Central Remand Prison on 25 August 2006
7. The death of Liam Ashley following his being assaulted while under escort from the North Shore District Court to Auckland Central Remand Prison on 24 August 2006 could have been avoided by a more rigorous application of Corrections Regulation (2005) 179 (1) (b), which states that all prsioners under the age of 18 years must, when outside a prison, be kept separate from prisoners who are 18 years or over where practicable. The process by which the prisoners were allocated to the various compartments within the escort vehicle had developed over time and had become an established practice accepted by both Chubb and the Department of Corrections. The practice was deficient in that it placed insufficient emphasis on the speeration of youth and adult prisoners.
8. The decision to place Liam in the front of the Chubb vehicle CAN05 with two adult prisoners was the decision of CBEO (A). This officer went to some lengths to make an appropriate decision. This decision was based on his training and understanding of the balance of priorities between security and safety. This included the weight that was placed on the requirement to keep youths separate where practicable as opposed to the recommended accommodation limits for each vehicle compartment, or the security risks involved in moving prisoners around the vehicle during the various stops along the route.
9. There were other options available for configuring the escort that would have enabled Liam to be seperated from adult prisoners for all but one section of the journey from ACRP to North Shore District Court on the morning of 24 August 2006, and for the entire return journey that evening.
10. The information provided to Chubb about Liam was not complete. Liam's actiove alert entered on IOMS (as a result of the Prison Youth Vulnerability Scale (PYVS) assessment) indicated that he was a vulnerable youth. This was not brought to the attention of Chubb by ACRP. In the Investigation's opinion the alert was relevant for Chubb's consideration, and may have influenced Chubb's decision in relation to their application in Liam's case of regulation 179.
11. The written information provided by ACRP to Chubb on prsioner Georg Charlie Baker was partially inaccurate. It omitted relevant documentation (observation form) that would have alerted Chubb to the fact that Baker was on 15 minute observations and therefore required to be seperated as an 'At risk Prisoner in accordance with the contract, Schedule 2, Service Description 6.1.9 – Seperation of Groups of prisoners.
12. The contributing factors to the inaccurate and omitted information provided by ACRP to Chubb staff for Baker are as follows:
- A voluntary Protective Segregation alert was not deactivated by Auckland Prison upon his transfer to ACRP
- The escorting an At risk Prisoner form (C.02.01.F1) was completed by an inexperienced staff member on Night watchwho entered the incorrect type of segregation from the alert information.
- The ACRP Receiving Officer who completed the hand-over process was not advised that baker was on 15 minute observations, therefore he did not verbally pass this information on to the Chubb escorting officers.
- ACRP Receiving Office staff did not carry out 15 minute observations on Baker while waiting in the Receiving Office on the morning of 24 August 2006 in accordance with national requirements PPM B. 14 – Prisoners at Risk to Themselves.
- The ACRP Court list did not record Baker's status ans security type as remand & unclassified.
12. Liam qualified for the group 'Prisoner at Risk' in accordance with the contract, Schedule 2, Service Description 6.1.9 – Separation of Groups of Prisoners as defined in the Standards & Practices – A.O3 as a 'Youth under 20 years of age'. He therefore should have been separated from all other groups of prisoners in terms of that specific contract requirement.
13. The non seperation of Baker as a Prisoner at Risk in accordance with the contract requirements (schedule 2, Service Description 6.1.9 - Separation of Groups of Prisoners) provided the ability for Liam and Baker to communicate during transportation both to and from Court on 24 August 2006.
13. CBEO (A) & (B) did not observe Liam, Baker and Prisoner E in the front compartment from henderson Police Station to ACRP on the afternoon escort on 24 August 2006-12-11 The investigation is of the opinion that the route travelled and the times taken were of aprropriate foir the needs of the escort.