David Walker / Stuff
David Stanley John Tranter, pictured in 2016, is serving time for child sexual abuse.
A pedophile serving an indefinite prison sentence has won a court battle against a decision to place him in solitary confinement for not taking his medication correctly.
But he failed to convince a High Court judge that he had been wrongfully dismissed from his job at Manawatū Prison.
David Stanley John Tranter is serving preventive detention after being convicted in 2016 of various sexual offenses against male and female minors.
He had several previous convictions for similar offences, as well as for cutting a boy’s hand with a knife.
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He sadly fled New Zealand for the Philippines in 2007 but was brought back and imprisoned for crimes including using a fake passport.
During his sentencing in 2016, he learned he had married while on the run to a woman who later died during the August 2015 floods caused by Typhoon Goni.
He now calls Manawatū Prison home, but took the prison management to court after two incidents.
He took umbrage at being fired from his job as a messman in the prison and being ordered to spend five days in solitary confinement and 28 days without privileges for failing to take medication.
He said he lost his job because of a drug problem, a kind of double jeopardy.
Corrections, however, said he lost his job due to multiple wrongdoings, including stealing food.
The medication issue stems from his being found guilty by a visiting judge in June 2021 of failing to follow instructions.
Visiting judges preside over internal prison hearings, arranging trials for minor disciplinary issues such as possession of contraband or damage to property.
There was no doubt that he had been given medication to take and he still had some in his mouth when he was checked.
Correctional officer Gary Roberts said Tranter repeatedly said the pills were swallowed before an examination of his mouth, while Tranter said the pills got stuck in his false teeth.
Tranter’s main complaint in the High Court was being denied the opportunity to be represented by a solicitor.
Judge Francis Cooke dismissed the messman’s question, saying there was a clear history of Tranter’s performance below par.
Additionally, the prison ruled that Tranter would be fired prior to the medication incident.
The judge, however, sided with Tranter on the drugs, saying the charge was unproven.
Jail records and evidence showed that Tranter, aside from an initial refusal to open his mouth, followed all instructions.
He swallowed as soon as Roberts saw the pills and told him to, Cooke said.
The charge of not following instructions was based on him not taking the pills, which Cooke said was unproven.
Tranter’s conviction was overturned, but he has not yet served any time.