A dangerous high-security prisoner who killed a Corrections
officer has pleaded guilty to assaulting two more.
Latu Kepu is already serving a prison sentence for the
manslaughter of prison guard Jason Palmer.
He appeared at the North Shore District Court today where he
has previously pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting
prison guards during two separate incidents at Auckland's
maximum security Paremoremo Prison.
It is understood both officers were taken to hospital and
treated for injuries in October last year. Neither was
seriously hurt and both returned to work soon after.
Cuffed and flanked by six prison guards, Kepu stood in the
dock today while his lawyer Lucy Smith told the court that
her client is currently being treated at the secure
psychiatric hospital, the Mason Clinic.
She also said that there may be grounds for an application to
change her client's guilty pleas but she needed to take
Judge Philippa Sinclair remanded Kepu in custody to the Mason
Clinic, and he is due back in court next month.
Kepu is currently serving a six-year and four-month prison
sentence for killing Mr Palmer in May 2010. Mr Palmer was
opening Kepu's cell door to escort him to the exercise yard
when he was attacked. He fell backwards and hit his head on
concrete paving, causing fatal head injuries.
At the time, Kepu was in prison after being convicted for
violent assaults including repeatedly kicking a police
officer in the head and attacking a pregnant woman.
- Edward Gay APNZ court reporter