Wigged Wally continues to make a mockery of our criminal justice system

Famous for successfully claiming that his hairpiece was a human right, convicted murderer and child molester Phillip Smith is yet again claiming that his human rights have been breached.

Smith sexually abused a young boy and then stabbed the boy’s father to death when he tried to protect his son so I have zero sympathy for his latest complaint.

Despite being classified as a low to medium security risk, the 43-year-old was placed in Auckland Prison’s high security west wing, which Smith says endangers his safety.

He successfully escaped three years ago to Brazil so he has no one to blame but himself for the increased security.

Smith said being housed in maximum security has caused “stress, low mood, insomnia and considerable frustration”.

He also said being a low-to-medium security prisoner placed in maximum security deprived him of comforts, which were “trivial” outside prison but essential to making prison life bearable.

Smith believes that Corrections had ignored its own Prison Operations Manual, which states high and maximum-security prisoners “must be held separately” from low and medium-security prisoners.

“Prisoners do have a clear, legitimate expectation that the department will follow its own policy.
Corrections lawyer Austin Powell said Phillip Smith was a “low-medium security prisoner who needs high-security protection.”

“There have been no reasons provided to me indicating a legitimate departure [from this policy],” Smith told the court.

If successful with his judicial review, Smith is likely to seek compensation for the Department of Corrections’ alleged breach of his human rights.

Lawyer for the Attorney General acting for the Department of Corrections, Austin Powell, argued Smith’s unusual circumstance being a low-security prisoner at high-risk of harm from other prisoners meant corrections had no choice but to place him in high security.

They should call his bluff and offer to put him in with the low-security prisoners where he is at a high risk of harm as a nonce. All he has to do is to sign a contract stating that he is choosing to put his life at risk and that the prison will not be held responsible if he is beaten up or killed. I doubt that he wants to be moved there he is simply trying to get compensation and extra privileges.

[…] Despite conceding maximum security was “generally” for “persistently violent” prisoners, corrections had “no choice” but to put Smith into “ultra-high security” in Auckland Prison, Powell said.

Paradoxically, restricted maximum security visitation rights and higher guard-to-prisoner ratios meant it was less likely a smuggled-in weapon could be used on Smith, he said.

[…] “If somebody wanted to do harm to someone in a low security prison it would be easier, the risk of a weapon getting in is greater.”

[…] Smith rebutted Powell’s argument stating prison rules didn’t give authorities discretion over placing prisoners outside their security classification.

Justice Lang reserved his decision.

Who is Phillip Smith?

Smith fled New Zealand while on temporary prison release in late 2014.

The fugitive was returned to prison and placed in maximum security after being apprehended in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The 43-year-old is serving a life sentence for the 1995 murder of the father of a boy he was molesting.

Smith stabbed the 35-year-old Wellington man 19 times as he tried to protect his son, 13.

After being re-imprisoned following his re-capture, Smith’s toupee was removed by prison authorities.

Smith successfully sued corrections arguing his freedom of expression was ignored and that his rights had been breached by not being allowed his hairpiece.

Justice Edwin Wylie said he was reluctant to interfere with prison management, but agreed with Smith.

“I have concluded that Mr Smith’s fundamental right to freedom of expression was ignored, and circumstances, which required to be taken into account.

“In my judgment a remedy is required in this case. An important right has been breached”.

 

– Stuff


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