«He’s under constant observation and isolation. He doesn’t get the usual minimum entitlements. So no phone calls and no visits,» said the source.
Corrections said the prisoner was being managed in accordance with the Corrections Act.
It’s understood the alleged gunman’s cell has a front and back door. The front is for the guards, the back leads to his own yard the same size as the cell. The yard has a concrete floor and walls, and he’s allowed into the yard for one hour a day.
The source said the prisoner was «unlike anyone else we’ve got» but day-to-day he was compliant.
Dr Bill Hodge, a legal expert from Auckland University, says the alleged gunman’s complaint may be valid.
«The rule of law applies, even in prison… He deserves the protection of the statutes like any other prisoner.»
Hodge said he will probably be a model prisoner, in some respects.
«A prisoner who insists on all of his rights probably tells me that he thinks of himself now as a victim with some point to make against society,» said Hodge. «He will feel justified in being litigious.»
Among Corrections staff concerns, said the source, is if he is found guilty and sentenced to a lengthy prison term and his security classification drops on account of good behaviour: «There is nothing we can do about it, that’s our system.»
The accused is expected to stay in Auckland during the pre-trial process and appear for Christchurch hearings by audio visual link, which isn’t unusual.
The source came forward to correct news reports the alleged gunman is only being dealt with by white prison staff.
Paremoremo has the highest number of Māori and Pacific Island staff in the country. The prisoner will be dealt with by officers of different ethnic origins, he said.
The alleged mosque shooter was moved to Auckland after his court appearance on March 16, charged with a single count of murder, a day after 50 people were killed in attacks at the Masjid Al Noor on Deans Ave and the Linwood Masjid in Christchurch.
He was flown in an Air Force Hercules to Whenuapai airport, the closest landing strip to the prison. It’s considered New Zealand’s toughest prison and has the country’s only specialist maximum-security unit for males.
Use of the Air Force was «not common». The inmate was escorted by four to five Corrections staff at Whenuapai, where he was handed to the Site Emergency Response Team from Auckland Prison, a normal practice when moving high-risk inmates.
None of the SERT members who collected the gunman were European.
Corrections would not comment on the complaint, and reiterated it worked closely with other organisations to transfer the alleged shooter.
«We have a diverse staff. Their safety is our top priority – our operational staff rostering has not and will not change for this individual.»
The spokesperson confirmed the alleged gunman has no access to television, radio or newspapers and no approved visitors.