Prisoner with Covid deemed unsuitable for bail
The prisoner who tested positive for Covid-19 was deemed unsuitable for release by Corrections shortly before he received bail.
Stuff has revealed the man is a patched Black Power member who has about two dozen active charges against him.
Mystery still surrounds how exactly the 36-year-old caught the virus.
Three of his family members, all children who lived at the bail address in Whakatīwai, just over the alert level border, have also tested positive.
In the months leading up to his release, he was on remand in prison facing various charges, including several dishonesty offences.
Among the charges were the theft of several electric guitars from a music shop in Mt Roskill.
On September 6, his application for bail was heard in the Manukau District Court.
It is understood Corrections deemed the 36-year-old unsuitable for release on electronic monitoring.
However, the judge granted the man bail.
Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumanu said the judge imposed “strict conditions” on the man.
They included “that a specified family member was to collect him from Mt Eden Corrections Facility and transport him directly to the bail address without any unnecessary stops and that he reside at the bail address 24 hours a day, seven days a week and not move or leave that address without prior approval”.
Under the current Covid-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 11) 2021, Schedule 5 Section 12, prisoners are allowed to travel through, into or out of an alert level 4 area if they are returning home.
The man was released from prison on September 8, two days after his bail hearing.
A relative of the man and Corrections have provided differing accounts to Stuff of his journey to his bail address on the Firth of Thames.
The relative said another family member, a healthcare worker who is tested regularly, went to prison to pick him up then drove him straight home. The relative also believes he caught Covid in prison and has questioned why he wasn’t tested immediately before his release.
Corrections maintains he could not have caught the virus in prison.
The department said in a statement on Monday evening GPS records indicated he made four “brief stops” on the way to his bail address.
Two were at “private addresses” in Mt Albert and Māngere, one was at a supermarket at Pokeno, and another was on the road near his bail address, according to the statement, attributed to Corrections’ chief custodial officer Neil Beales.
“He arrived at the house at 12.28pm, two hours and 19 minutes after leaving the prison,” Beales said.
“He remained within the boundary of the bail address until 12.47pm on 16 September, when he visited a car park about 250 metres away from the address, and then presented himself to Police because his address had become unavailable and the court had revoked his bail and issued a warrant for his arrest.”
The relative told Stuff the family called police when the man contacted his ex-wife, in breach of bail conditions.
“He was then in Police custody overnight, before being transported to Mt Eden Corrections Facility on Friday, September 19, arriving at 6.45pm.”
His first test came back positive and he is now in a secure quarantine unit inside the remand prison.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the man was probably infected by someone he travelled home from the prison with.
Beales said the man was given his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on the day of his release.
Five prisoners at Mt Eden who had contact with the man had tested negative on their day three swabs, and they would continue to quarantine, Beales said.
“Two prisoners initially refused to be tested, however one changed his mind this morning and has today been tested.”