An inquiry into the escape of convicted paedophile and murderer Phillip John Smith shows a chain of failures by government departments enabled him to flee to Brazil, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“Corrections underestimated Smith because they didn’t properly take into account the troubling psychological evaluations of him presented to the Parole Board.
“The inquiry found Smith should have been subject to higher levels of vigilance and communication with his sponsor was so appalling, the sponsor didn’t know he was responsible for the prisoner overnight.
“Alarm bells should have been raised when Smith ran a business out of jail with the permission of authorities, but his commercial activities were never investigated properly.
“Likewise strong misgivings about Smith by experienced Corrections officers should have been shared and highlighted.
“The inquiry has exposed systemic failures in our justice and corrections systems. Most concerning is that just one phone call would have thwarted Smith’s plans to flee New Zealand.
“The Government must make urgent changes to ensure this never happens again,” Jacinda Ardern says.