Why were the prison holding cells open late at night?

The main gate to the Tafa'igata Prison.

The main gate to the Tafa’igata Prison.

by Lance Polu

APIA: THURSDAY 07 FEBRUARY 2013: The Samoa Police Tribunal is looking into why the prison holding cells at the Tafa’igata prison were left open late at night following the dismissal of two police officers in relation to the death of New Zealander Hans Dalton at the prison on Boxing Day last year.

The two officers were on duty the night Dalton died and the Police Tribunal investigating the death found the officers were negligent in carrying out their duties. A third officer is awaiting a decision of the Tribunal.

The death was originally ruled as suicide when Dalton was found upside down in a 44 gallon drum of water. But a 21 year old who was held at the prison cell for killing a taxi driver at gunpoint, is now charged with Dalton’s murder.

The Police investigation is looking into why Jonathan Patrick Crichton was allowed out of his cell that has led to his alleged involvement in the murder.

Hans Dalton who had mental problems was visiting relatives in Samoa when he had a condition and relatives took him to the National Hospital. In the absence of a mental unit, he was later taken to Tafa’igata prison when he became violent.

He was found dead upside down in a gallon of water the next day.

Police have repeatedly say that they are not equipped with the expertise and facilities to handle mental patients. The incident has led to the authorities deciding to rebuild a mental unit at the National hospital next year.

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