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Corrections Minister must explain escape

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

6 November 2007

Corrections Minister must explain escape

The Corrections Minister must explain to the public how a convicted axe murderer was working in an unsupervised work party outside prison walls when he escaped, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“Phil Goff should explain how this man, who was regarded by police as a risk, was:

  • In a Mt Crawford work party that was checked only once every hour.

  • Able to plan it so well that he left a note in his cell before joining the work party, taunting his pursuers that ‘the hunt is on.’

  • Apparently able to make an improvised knife, reported to be a Stanley blade between two pieces of wood.

“Phil Goff might also like to explain the vast difference between the response of his department and that of the police when it was discovered John Ericson was missing.

“Police immediately started a massive manhunt, sealing off the Miramar peninsula with armed officers, helicopters, and tracker dogs.

“But while police were saying ‘the very nature of his crime makes him a risk’, all the Corrections’ acting Wellington regional manager could say was: ‘Unfortunately, it appears the prisoner has breached the trust we placed in him.’

“It’s clear that police and Corrections had a very different view of this man, and that’s concerning.

“I believe the public have a right to be concerned over Corrections’ attitude.

“While police erred on the side of public safety, Corrections just erred.”

ENDS

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