25 June 2021

Prison bashing leaves inmate with "shoeprints on his face"

| Albert McKnight
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Prison bashing

A prisoner at the Alexander Maconochie Centre can be seen being bashed in CCTV footage tendered to the ACT courts. Image: Screenshot.

GRAPHIC CONTENT: Some readers may find this court report highly disturbing.

A prisoner at Canberra’s jail was bashed so badly by other inmates he ended up with shoeprints on his face.

Afterwards, the man who police say orchestrated the attack laughed over the phone about how he had been paid $50 to be involved.

Court documents show the victim had been sitting on a bench in an Alexander Maconochie Centre exercise yard on the morning of 1 November 2020.

Two men, allegedly including bikie killer Frederick Elijah Mercy Tuifua, were exercising when they were joined in the space by others who included Kieran Horan and Jesse Lee James Scott.

Police alleged Horan, Scott and others, including Tuifua, bashed their victim for about 40 seconds before prison authorities intervened.

Later, police found the victim had cuts to his face and neck, two black eyes, bruising and “what appeared to be shoe prints on his face”.

Earlier this year, Tuifua admitted he stabbed Canberra Comanchero’s commander Pitasoni ‘Soni’ Ulavalu to death in July 2020 when he was 26 years old. He has pleaded not guilty to the prison bashing.

Both Horan and Scott have pleaded guilty and been sentenced over their roles in what Magistrate Beth Campbell described to the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (17 June) as a “totally unprovoked attack”.

CCTV footage tendered to the court shows the prison bashing on 1 November 2020.

The agreed court documents for 22-year-old Horan, who pleaded guilty to assault, show that he made phone calls after the bashing, during which he seemed to admit to organising the attack.

“I done something about [the victim],” he said in a call, and also laughed about getting paid $50 for his involvement.

In a call, Horan said he alleged to the others his victim was a “paedophile”.

It is unknown why the victim was in jail.

READ ALSO Man whose coward punch caused traumatic brain injury to serve sentence in the community

In court on Thursday (17 June), prosecutor Luke Crocker said Horan had kicked his victim while the man was “slashed” with a shiv by another person.

Horan’s lawyer, Lauren Skinner from the Aboriginal Legal Service, said the transcript from Scott’s sentencing in April showed Scott had kicked the victim in the head.

Mr Crocker argued while Horan’s role during the assault was relatively minor, he was equally culpable with the others as he had orchestrated it.

He said the victim was outnumbered in the premeditated and unprovoked attack.

Ms Skinner said her client denied encouraging the others, and while he spread information about the man, he did not intend to involve the others.

She also claimed he spoke to a corrections officer before the attack and said they should get the victim out of the exercise yard as something bad was going to happen.

READ ALSO Prison riot caused by drunk inmates: Human Rights Commissioner

She said Horan had begun using drugs at a very young age, and there was a clear link between his childhood trauma, drug use and offending.

Magistrate Campbell described the attack as a “nasty incident” and said the message needed to get around jail that “it’s not worth it” when it came to attacking someone else in prison.

Horan has been in custody for 18 months. His current sentence was set to expire in February 2022.

Magistrate Campbell sentenced him to an extra six months’ jail on top of his current sentence.

“You commit the crime, you have to pay the penalty,” she said.

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