Reekie: Court didn't fully acknowledge abuse

22:04, Dec 04 2013

Serial rapist Nicholas Reekie has told the Supreme Court that the Court of Appeal failed to fully acknowledge his abuse at the hands of prison staff and his trial had been skewed as a result.

Reekie said he had been in jail "for over half my life" and cannot pay security for court costs after he took the Corrections Department to court over alleged abuse.

He has no way of earning the almost $6000 fee while in prison, but does not meet the criteria for having it waived.

Reekie was sentenced in 2003 to preventive detention with a minimum prison term of 25 years, later reduced to 20 years, after being convicted on 31 charges, including the rape of four females, one just 11 years old.

He last year sued the Corrections Department, the attorney-general and the Waitakere District Court for humiliation and unlawful detention while in Auckland's Paremoremo Prison in 2001 and 2002.

The Court of Appeal found that Reekie's rights were breached when he was strip-searched by prison staff, but it was not satisfied "the prisoner has made reasonable use of all of the specified internal and external complaint mechanisms reasonably available to him".

The court found that "declaration" was sufficient remedy for the alleged harm to Reekie, and his claim to compensation was denied. Because of his lack of money, the court waived $1000 in court fees.

Reekie today told the Supreme Court that he had neglected to make all appropriate complaints because of his compromised mental state and because he had focused on the "bigger issues" only. Representing himself by video link at the Supreme Court last week and today, Reekie sought to overturn the Court of Appeal's ruling.

"They think I can pay $5800 ... I've been in prison for over half my life. The information before the court shows I'm a person of little means," he said.

The Crown told the Supreme Court that financial hardship alone was not enough to waive security for costs, and in making its decision the Court of Appeal did not act on wrong principle, take into account irrelevant matter or fail to take into account relevant matter, "nor are [the justices'] decisions plain wrong".

One of the convictions against Reekie was for raping an 11-year-old girl in 1992, for which David Dougherty was jailed for more than three years before he was cleared by DNA evidence.

Reekie had previously been jailed for abducting two children. Within three weeks of his release, he raped a 69-year-old woman. A month later, he raped a 23-year-old woman.

While in prison he has repeatedly attempted to overturn his charges and laid several complaints about his treatment.

In a 2011 appeal he was described as a "vexatious litigant". Some of his complaints included sleeping on a thin mattress and having to dry himself with a small towel, being deprived of light and not having access to a toilet.

He complained of being kept in isolation without consent, but prison staff say it was done for his own safety as he was suicidal.