A convicted rapist who struck a fellow prison inmate with a pool cue causing him brain damage has been acquitted of deliberately injuring him.

A jury yesterday found Joseph Warren Lepper, 34, not guilty of either intentionally causing grievous bodily harm or causing grievous bodily harm with intent to injure, following his trial in Wellington District Court, the Dominion Post reported.

But his acquittal did not mean freedom. He went back to jail to continue serving his 10-year sentence for the rape of a woman in her 50s in Palmerston North.

In 2008 at Rimutaka Prison's faith-based unit Lepper struck Christopher Walker in the eye socket with a pool cue. The tip of the cue broke off, leaving a long tapering end that entered above Walker's eye without damaging the eye itself, but went through his brain until it hit the inside of his skull.

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His speech, language and cognitive functioning was so badly damaged that he was unable to give evidence at Lepper's trial.

Lepper said it was a freak accident.

- NZPA