ICAC public inquiry into allegations concerning Corrective Services NSW officers assault of prisoner

Thursday 3 May 2018

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will hold a public inquiry commencing on Monday 21 May 2018 as part of an investigation it is conducting into allegations concerning the conduct of Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) officers (Operation Estry).

The Commission is investigating allegations that, on or about 19 February 2014, CSNSW officers based at Lithgow Correctional Centre dishonestly exercised their official functions in relation to an assault of a prisoner including by subjecting the prisoner to the use of force which was unwarranted and inappropriate in the circumstances.

It is also alleged that the officers dishonestly exercised their official functions by colluding to provide a false and misleading account of the reasons for attending the cell occupied by the prisoner and subjecting him to the use of force, and that they submitted, reviewed and approved a “use of force package” (including incident reports) that contained false and misleading information about the reasons for attending the cell occupied by the prisoner and subjecting him to the use of force. (A “use of force package” is an internal CSNSW mandatory package of forms for those involved in any use of force within the prison. It includes reports by officers involved, medical reports, CCTV or hand-held camera footage if available, and other relevant information.)

It is further alleged that the officers dishonestly exercised their official functions by failing to record the use of force via video camera, as required by CSNSW policy and procedures, and by destroying, or not maintaining, CCTV footage of the area immediately outside the cell occupied by the prisoner.

The Commission is also investigating whether, on 20 February 2014, CSNSW officers at Lithgow Correctional Centre dishonestly exercised their official functions by falsely representing that 0.2 grams of buprenorphine was recovered from the prisoner’s personal belongings during the search of the cell occupied by the prisoner.

The public inquiry will start at 10:00 am and will be held in the Commission's hearing room on Level 7, 255 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Commissioner Stephen Rushton SC will preside at the public inquiry, and Counsel Assisting the Commission will be Mr Sam Duggan.

The inquiry is set down for two weeks. A witness list for at least the first week of the proceedings will be published on the ICAC website prior to the commencement of the public inquiry.

Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications & Media, Nicole Thomas, 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801