ICAC has found that the former general manager of Lithgow Correctional Centre and five corrective service officers engaged in "serious corrupt conduct".
In a report released on Monday, June 3, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) stated the investigation had been carried out in relation to the use of excessive force on an inmate and the cover-up of the incident.
ICAC is seeking the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether the officers involved should be prosecuted.
According to the report, an outlaw motorcycle gang member in remand at Lithgow facing serious drug-supply charges, who was identified as only "inmate A", was hospitalised with suspected broken ribs after an incident in the segregation unit on February 19, 2014.
The Commission's report found LCC general manager John O'Shea incited a corrective services officer, Terrence Walker, to enter A's cell and "sort him out", after mistaking him for another prisoner with whom he had exchanged "harsh words" over an intercom system.
The report stated "the Commission is satisfied that it was Mr O'Shea's intention that the inmate who had abused him over the knock-up system would be bashed. The Commission is further satisfied that Mr O'Shea not only caused the physical attack on inmate A by issuing the "sort him out" or "sort it out" direction, but that he stood by to watch it take place".
In its statement on Monday, ICAC stated Mr O'Shea and officers Terrence Walker, Brian McMurtrie, Elliott Duncan, Simon Graf and Stephen Taylor were implicated in corrupt conduct.
Only Mr Taylor remains on active duty with CSNSW. Mr Graf is currently suspended and the other officers, and Mr O'Shea, have resigned.
The cover-up, ICAC reported, included colluding to create a false account of the incident, which stated that inmate A was injured during a fall as he tried to dispose of contraband, and a statement made that 0.2 grams of the drug buprenorphine was found in the inmate's personal belongings during a search on February 20.
"The Commission is satisfied that those correctional officers identified... who engaged in the cover-up of the physical attack on inmate A did so to avoid an investigation by CSNSW in relation to disciplinary offences and also the police in relation to possible criminal offences," the report stated.
In a statement, a Corrective Services NSW spokesperson said the organisation would "consider the findings and recommendations in the final report, in light of the work already being undertaken as a result of a joint review announced by Commissioner Peter Severin at the time of the public hearing".
"The review conducted with ICAC's support, identified areas where the reporting, monitoring and oversight of systems and procedures could be strengthened," she said.
"That work has already resulted in changes to policy including, enhanced oversight and better support for staff involved in use of force incidents."
The Commission has made 19 corruption prevention recommendations to CSNSW to help it improve its systems.
How the investigation started
The investigation began after the commission received an anonymous complaint based on information allegedly supplied to Inmate A by two CSNSW employees.
"He sends his thugs to teach the crim a lesson. The dumb thugs bash the wrong crim," the complaint stated.
Monday's report stated there was a CSNSW investigation carried out in 2015 into the actions of Terrence Walker, Elliott Duncan and Simon Graf, which found no evidence that they assaulted inmate A.
They were found to have failed to use a video recorder during the search of the inmate's cell and that each officer made a false report. As a result, Mr Walker was fined $1000 and Mr Duncan and Mr Graf were fined $500.
After receiving an anonymous complaint in 2016, CSNSW referred the complaint to ICAC in September of that year. Due to a lack of evidence that was not based on hearsay, ICAC did not move forward with an investigation until new information was provided in 2017. A full investigation began in September, 2017.
A public inquiry was held into the incident over 10 days from May 21 to June 5, 2018 and evidence was taken from 19 witnesses.
The inquiry heard from witnesses who detailed issues in maintaining order in the prison in the lead-up to the incident on February 19, particularly in the segregation unit, including assaults between inmates and on corrections staff.
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