A New Plymouth man arrested in a drug bust is believed to have suffered a broken jaw in an assault while on remand in New Plymouth Prison.
Tommy Kawhuru White, 53, was arrested in August after a police search of his Fitzroy home.
He was charged with conspiring to deal methamphetamine, possession of meth and cannabis, possession of meth for supply and possession of drug utensils and remanded in custody.
But he failed to appear in New Plymouth District Court on Thursday as expected and sources said he was in hospital having screws removed from his broken jaw, the result of an assault at the prison.
Central region police prosecution manager Malcolm Greig confirmed yesterday Mr White did not appear in court.
"I have been informed he did suffer an injury and has been receiving appropriate medical treatment.
"I was informed that his injury was sufficient for his court attendance to be excused.
"The circumstances surrounding Mr White suffering an injury are subject to an on going police investigation," Mr Greig said.
White is expected to return to court on December 7.
The Corrections Department declined to comment yesterday.
"We cannot comment on the health of individual prisoners," a spokeswoman said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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