Limitoo News

Auckland prisoner dies at parole board hearing

NZ Herald
By George Block of
Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility, a SERCO run high security men’s prison located at Wiri, in Auckland.
The man was serving his sentence at Auckland South Corrections Facility. Photo: RNZ / Sam Olley

A man has died of a suspected heart attack just before his parole board hearing at an Auckland prison.

The man was in a hearing room in Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility for the hearing where the parole board was set to consider his lawyer's arguments in favour of release when he suffered the medical event.

He died at the scene.

The Herald understands he was serving a life sentence for a murder committed in the 1980s.

Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility is run by Serco.

A Serco spokesperson confirmed the death in a statement on Friday evening.

"Earlier today, a prisoner in Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility collapsed while attending a Parole Board hearing," the spokesperson said.

"Staff immediately called for medical assistance and attempted to resuscitate him. Sadly, he could not be revived and was pronounced deceased approximately one hour after his collapse.

"In keeping with tikanga, the scene was blessed before the deceased was moved. Next of kin have been informed, and our thoughts are with the man's family and friends."

Counselling and other support will be made available to both prisoners and staff, the spokesperson said.

New Zealand Parole Board chair Sir Ron Young offered his condolences to the whānau of the man.

"On behalf of the Board I extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased," Sir Ron said.

"We also offer our thanks to the prison staff for their professionalism and the speed with which they reacted."

As with all deaths in custody, the death will be investigated by the Coroner and the Corrections Inspectorate.

* This story first appeared in the New Zealand Herald.