More than $100,000 has been paid to some of the country's most notorious criminals for mistreatment in prison. But under a new law, they won't be able to get their hands on it while they are jailed and their victims can claim compensation from the payouts.
In a landmark High Court ruling in 2002, $358,000 in costs was awarded to five prisoners after they successfully sued Auckland Prison in Paremoremo for holding them in solitary confinement.
The first tranche of payments has been made to former Satan's Slaves gang member Leslie Tofts, serial rapist Nicholas Reekie, murderer Christopher Taunoa, aggravated robber Alistair Robinson and Matthew Kidman, who in 2012 escaped from Hutt Valley District Court.
The money has been put into trust accounts and newspaper advertisements published yesterday invite victims of the men to apply for a share of the money.
But Garth McVicar, founder of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, said he didn't believe many would. "The victims don't want anything to do with the offenders."
He would like any money left over to go to a consolidated victims fund.
Taunoa was awarded compensation in 2002 after he spent two years in solitary confinement at Auckland Prison. He was jailed for life after he slit Sanson publican Hugh Lynch's throat and left him for dead in 1996.
Taunoa was one of five prisoners who claimed Auckland Prison's Behaviour Management Regime, under which they were held, amounted to psychological torture. He was kept in a 10m by 6m space for either 22 or 23 hours a day. He reportedly lost 13kg.
Victim compensation available
• Christopher Taunoa: $43,313.38
• Leslie Tofts: $30,938.12
• Alistair Robinson: $24,750.50
• Matthew Kidman: $4,950.10
• Nicholas Reekie: $1,000