New footage shows violent fight between prison guards and inmates

The jury in the trial for three Auckland prison guards has been shown graphic video footage of an attack on staff. The officers can be seen regaining control but injuring an inmate in the process.

The violent struggle happened after prison inmates tried to attack staff in May 2017.

Two Corrections officers are charged with injuring an inmate, and one with perverting the course of justice.

Moments before the altercation the officers were charged at by two inmates with metal weapons, and officer Desmond Fa'afoi was repeatedly stabbed.

On Tuesday a jury at the High Court in Auckland heard from Sophie Stevenson, an officer who was there.

"They were both swinging at his head and neck area," she said of the inmates. "I saw a lot of blood on the back of Des' head and across the wall behind where they were standing."

Staff called for backup while they tried to gain control of the inmates. Three officers involved are now on trial.

Fa'afoi is charged with injuring inmate Mitai Angell. Bodycam footage shows him kicking Angell in the head before being stopped by fellow officer and defendant Viju Devassey.

Devassey, who was brutally attacked by inmates at the prison six months prior, is charged with perverting the course of justice for turning cameras away that were capturing the incident.

Wiremu Paikea, who the footage shows kneeling on Angell, is charged with causing grievous bodily harm - breaking the prisoner's leg and dislocating his ankle so badly, there was an open wound.

All three pleaded not guilty, saying there was no criminal intent and they were regaining control of an unfolding situation.

A statement by corrections officer Leon Sua-Pitone was read to the jury, in which he said he saw Angell with a metal weapon in his hand, moving it in a stabbing motion.

In his statement he said Fa'afoi was badly injured.

"His blood was dripping on to my right arm on to my jersey," his statement read. "I looked up and saw he was covered in blood, it was all over his face."

The jury will hear from other Corrections staff and an orthopaedic surgeon about the inmate's injuries.


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