Victoria Davis, with her dog Panaish, looks through a
scrapbook featuring her son, Jai Davis, determined to seek
justice in relation to his death. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Victoria Davis will continue to fight for justice over
her son's death, on behalf of his children in her care.
The Dunedin resident said Department of Corrections staff
failed in their duty of care and let her son, Jai Davis (30),
die in a prison cell.
Mr Davis had drugs inside him when he went into the Otago
Corrections Facility as a remand prisoner in February 2011.
Although Corrections staff knew that from an intercepted
phone call, he was placed alone in an at-risk cell and did
not receive medical help. He died in the cell two days later.
Ms Davis, who is raising three of his children and her
youngest son, said although a police investigation found
evidence to prosecute anyone in relation to her son's death
was insufficient, her crusade for justice was not over.''It's
just the beginning,'' she said.
''Now we know where we stand. Jai didn't deserve to die like
that and people need to be made accountable.''
Nurses and other Corrections staff knew her son needed
medical help, but did not provide him with the care which
would have saved his life, Ms Davis said.
''They should have taken him to a hospital. They knew he was
carrying something. It was very clear, and there were many
Prison nurses and guards should have ''done their job'' but
instead let Mr Davis down from start to finish.
More than 70 people were interviewed, including some in
Australia, in the three-year police investigation into Mr
Southern Police District criminal investigations manager
Detective Inspector Steve McGregor, of Dunedin, said costs
had yet to be compiled for the ''significant'' inquiry.
''The investigation was both 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
The Independent Police Conduct Authority, after a complaint,
is inquiring about the time the investigation took.
Corrections conducted an internal investigation into Mr
Davis' death, completed in September 2011.
Yesterday, the department issued a statement acknowledging
the police investigation and the decision not to prosecute.
Corrections Southern region commissioner Ian Bourke said the
department extended its condolences to the Davis family.
Until a coroner's inquest had been completed, it would be
inappropriate for Corrections to comment further, he said.
Ms Davis acknowledged her son had made some bad decisions and
was a ''ratbag'', but he was entitled to lifesaving medical
''This could easily have been anyone's son and if he was an
outstanding citizen I'm sure they [police] would have laid
Ms Davis wanted an apology from Corrections.
''They are putting his kids and I through a lot. It's a
challenge and I've got to stay strong for the kids.''
Ms Davis' lawyer, Anne Stevens, said the initial police
investigation was ''hopeless'', and dragging it out over
three years had added insult to injury.
''It's a really hard pill for her [Ms Davis] to swallow, that
nobody will be held accountable and that there's going to be
no attempt to hold anyone accountable. That's very difficult
to take on board given he [Mr Davis] went in alive and came
A private prosecution against Corrections was possible, but
at huge cost, she said.
''It's complicated. It's fraught with difficulty. If you
compare the resources of a private individual to those of the
police, you realise the enormity of the task.''
Another possibility was to lodge a complaint with Corrections
and ask them to ''put things right''.