Sick in­mate plays vi­o­lent video games


Steps were im­me­di­ately taken to re­move the pris­oner’s ac­cess to the con­sole’ CHRIS O’BRIEN-SMITH

A convicted mur­derer played vi­o­lent video games while re­ceiv­ing can­cer treat­ment in hos­pi­tal, it has been re­vealed.

The pris­oner, who Sun­day News un­der­stands is David Jack­son Mahia, is serv­ing a life sen­tence for the bru­tal mur­der of mother-of-two Ni­cola Flem­ing.

Flemimg, 38, was found dead in­side a room at an In­ver­cargill hos­tel in 2013. She had been se­verely beaten, suf­fer­ing a frac­tured face, pelvis, ster­num and ribs.

Mahia, an in­mate at Otago Cor­rec­tions Fa­cil­ity, was taken to Dunedin Hos­pi­tal where he re­ceived can­cer treat­ment for about a month.

While in hos­pi­tal, Mahia gained ac­cess to a Plays­ta­tion con­sole and played a vi­o­lent and ex­ple­tive-laden game, a source said.

When asked by a guard to turn the game down, Mahia al­legedly threat­ened him, mak­ing ref­er­ences to his own ill-health and the fact he was serv­ing life.

Cor­rec­tions act­ing south­ern re­gional com­mis­sioner, Chris O’Brien-Smith con­firmed a pris­oner was fac­ing ‘‘an in­ter­nal mis­con­duct charge for al­legedly threat­en­ing a staff mem­ber’’.

That pris­oner re­cently re­turned to prison after re­ceiv­ing can­cer treat­ment in hos­pi­tal, she said.

Jus­tice ad­vo­cate Roger Brook­ing told Sun­day New­sthe in­ci­dent raises ques­tions on how Cor­rec­tions’ mon­i­tor pris­on­ers out­side of prison.

O’Brien-Smith said any time a pris­oner is re­quired to be es­corted out­side a prison,‘‘our fo­cus is on safety, se­cu­rity and min­imis­ing risk to the pub­lic, our staff and pris­on­ers’’.

Any pris­oner vis­it­ing hos­pi­tal is ac­com­pa­nied by ex­pe­ri­enced cor­rec­tions of­fi­cers, she said.

She con­firmed Cor­rec­tions did not sup­ply gam­ing con­soles or games to pris­on­ers.

How­ever it came to the at­ten­tion of the se­cu­rity man­ager that a pris­oner had ac­cess to the item, and ‘‘steps were im­me­di­ately taken to re­move the pris­oner’s ac­cess to the con­sole’’.

Pub­lic safety was a top pri­or­ity for the de­part­ment and we ‘‘have a duty of care to meet pris­on­ers’ health needs where med­i­cal, sur­gi­cal, or den­tal assess­ment or treat­ment is not avail­able in­side prison’’.

A pris­oner who re­sorted to vi­o­lence would be held to ac­count, O’Brien-Smith said.

The South­ern DHB de­clined to com­ment on whether com­plaints had been re­ceived, and noted Mahia was not a cur­rent pa­tient at Dunedin Hos­pi­tal.

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