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Delays fuel the need for prison complaints body

30 November 2006

Delays fuel the need for independent prison complaints body

Green Party Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos has strongly criticized the delays in releasing the official report into the prison van death of North Shore teenager Liam Ashley - and said that the handling of the investigation underlines the need to create an Independent Prison Inspectorate willing and able to speedily investigate incidents involving Corrections officials.

"This in-house report was initially supposed to be released on October 20, and then delayed until November 30. Now, Liam's father has had to rely on the media to tell him that the report is still only in draft form and will be released sometime, date unspecified," Nandor says.

"This is an outrage. The Ashley family deserve far better treatment than this from the system that contributed to Liam's death. The delays in releasing the report give the impression that the investigation may be more about shielding the Corrections department from blame, than about identifying where the responsibility lies, and giving the family an explanation..

"For nearly two years, the Greens have been stressing the need for an Independent Prison Inspectorate, so that complaints can be dealt with fully, fairly and speedily. Justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done.

"Obviously, this is not happening with the Ashley case, and the investigation so far only highlights the shortcomings in the current system for handling prison complaints," Nandor says.

ENDS

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