Mum rejects cell suicide finding

WILMA MCCORKINDALE
Last updated 11:27 09/04/2014
jai davis
Jai Davis died in custody in 2011.

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The mother of Otago prison remand inmate Jai Davis, who died in custody in 2011, is appalled police won't prosecute the case.

Victoria Davis contends her son's death in his prison cell, while on weekend remand at the Otago Corrections facility in February 2011, was not suicide.

She said he died because he did not receive medical attention, despite being suspected of carrying drugs internally.

"It appears there is no accountability," she said.

"I'm just absolutely appalled."

Davis said police told her on Monday they would not prosecute the case.

"It's an awful thing for a mother to know her son could have been saved. I want justice," she said.

She rejected that her son's death was a suicide. Those findings are the focus of an investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

Southern police district manager of criminal investigations Detective Inspector Steve McGregor said today that the police investigation had been complex and resource-intensive to ensure it considered all the relevant facts in the case.

"The evidence established as part of the investigation does not meet the threshold required to proceed with a criminal prosecution," he said.

"Police aren't able to comment further as the details of the investigation will in due course form part of a coronal hearing."

Victoria Davis predicted police and the Corrections Department would emerge "red-faced" from that hearing.

She believed evidence would show her son did not receive proper medical care while he was incarcerated.

Corrections southern regional commissioner Ian Bourke today expressed the department's condolences to Davis' family.

"We have been advised by police that charges will not be laid against any Corrections staff in connection with his death in custody," he said.

"We are currently awaiting the beginning of the Coronal process to determine the cause of death and the circumstances that preceded it.

"The department is aware that there has been comment in the media concerning Mr Davis' death. However, until the Coroner's inquest is completed it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."

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- Southland

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