INDEPENDENT NEWS

Operation Portia – Rimutaka Prison Investigation

Published: Tue 19 Dec 2023 08:17 AM
Police have charged six people following a three-year investigation by the National Organised Crime Group into suspected criminal activity at Rimutaka Prison.
Those charged are aged between 37 and 50, with offences involving corruption and bribery. One is a prisoner, one is a current employee, one is a member of the public and others are former employees.
The corruption and bribery charges required Attorney General consent to prosecute.
The accused are from Auckland, Porirua, Hutt Valley and Hawke’s Bay and will be appearing in the Hutt Valley District Court on 19 December 2023.
Operation Portia commenced in 2020 following Operation Dory, a drug-related investigation at Rimutaka Prison.
Those involved in Operation Dory have already been before the court.
During the course of Operation Portia, Police interviewed almost 200 people, including Corrections staff, prisoners and other witnesses.
Our investigation involved tactics like the interrogation of phones, bank data and viewing hours of CCTV.
This has been an incredibly complex and dynamic investigation with a lot of moving parts.
Police have worked closely and collaboratively with Corrections management and both organisations are committed to working towards preventing corruption and other criminal offending.
Police have also been able to provide information to Corrections that has supported the prison to strengthen its management of some systems and processes.
In addition to the corruption and bribery offences, Operation Portia investigators identified alleged offences involving assault and one case of using a document.
These investigations were undertaken by Wellington District Police staff and have resulted in five people being charged. Four have been dealt with by the court and one prosecution remains ongoing.
These investigations and those held responsible are separate from the corruption and bribery charges laid as part of Operation Portia.
Media are advised to ensure they are not in breach of suppression or court orders.
As the matters are now before the courts Police are limited in providing any further information.

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