Convicted murderer played violent video games while in Dunedin Hospital
A convicted murderer played violent video games while receiving cancer treatment in hospital, it has been revealed.
The prisoner, who Stuff understands is David Jackson Mahia, is serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of mother-of-two Nicola Fleming.
The 38-year-old woman 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. Not one part of her face was left without a mark.
Mahia, an inmate of Otago Corrections Facility, was taken to Dunedin Hospital where he received cancer treatment for about a month.
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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 Stuff the incident raises questions on how Corrections’ monitor prisoners outside of prison.
He understood guards would be with a prisoner “24/7”, and the incident should not have occurred.
O’Brien-Smith said any time a prisoner is required to be escorted outside of a prison, “our focus is on safety, security and minimising risk to the public, our staff and prisoners”.
Any prisoner required to attend a hospital appointment is accompanied by experienced corrections officers, with the number of staff being dependent on a thorough risk assessment and the prisoner’s security classification, 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 over the incident were received, and noted Mahia was not a current patient at Dunedin Hospital.
Jenny Hanson, Director of Nursing (Medicine), said adult patients were not supplied with video games.
“There are no specific policies regarding the media patients may consume, but all patients are expected to uphold a respectable standard of behaviour, and when there are concerns about this or we become aware of patients disrupting others, staff will address this with those involved.”
– Sunday Star Times