Top court throws out killer's claim for damages

Last updated 13:42 19/02/2014

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A convicted murderer seeking damages from the Crown for an unlawfully long confinement sentence has had his appeal thrown out by the Supreme Court today.

In April 2000 John Vogel, then a prison inmate, was sentenced at his request to 21 days of cell confinement for drug offending.

He had pleaded guilty and asked to be sentenced so that he could deal with his habit, apparently in preparation for an upcoming parole hearing.

Unfortunately, the maximum sentence permitted in this case was 15 days.

Years later, Vogel claimed damages against the Crown, alleging he had been tortured and treated disrespectfully.

The High Court and the Court of Appeal both found the failures did not amount to torture.

However, the courts disagreed on whether the system had failed to treat Vogel with "humanity and respect for inherent dignity".

The Court of Appeal found the unlawfully long period had breached human rights, while the High Court found that it did not, owing to Vogel's specific request.

The case was last year raised to the Supreme Court, which today released its decision to dismiss Vogel's application for leave to appeal.

Vogel was sentenced in 1988 to life in prison for the murder of Mt Roskill man Peter Hoey, 47, the previous year.

He was released on parole a decade later, but recalled to Auckland Prison at Paremoremo in 2000 after further offending, where he was then found guilty of drug charges.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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