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‘Disgust, horror and dismay’: Surfaced report called for the sacking of prisons boss

Ray Hadley received a 55-page document from a listener, and it piqued his interest.

It was a copy of a coronial inquest into the death of an inmate in South Australia in 2011, a time when Peter Severin was the chief executive of the Corrective Services Department.

Ray has consistently slammed Mr Severin, now NSW Corrective Services Commissioner, for allowing countless scandals to happen under his watch.

In the last year alone, Ray has exposed prison officers being in sexual relationships with inmates, most notably the case of cop-killer Sione Penisini and officer Amy Connors.

The coronial inquest looks into the death of 28-year-old Mark William Payne who committed suicide in his prison cell, a death the coroner ruled preventable.

The minor offender was supposed to be under constant camera surveillance after threatening self-harm but was only monitored for five minutes of each half hour.

Mr Payne was dead for some time before authorities became aware.

In his findings, Coroner Mark Johns was scathing of Mr Severin and his colleagues:

“In my opinion, the appropriate sanction for such extraordinary incompetence could only be dismissal.

“In short, I cannot find words adequate to express my disgust, horror and dismay…

“Neither in his evidence, nor his statement, nor in his submissions did Mr Severin offer so much as an expression of regret at Mr Payne’s death.

“His demeanour in the witness box and evidence demonstrated a wish to avoid responsibility for what was ultimately the result of predictable incompetence…”

When Ray contacted NSW Corrections Minister David Elliot about findings, which called on Mr Severin to be sacked, he said he was unaware of the inquest.

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2GB State Political Reporter Tamara Wearne questioned Premier Gladys Berejiklian on whether she was disappointed Mr Elliot had no knowledge incident.

But she side-stepped the question, saying “that’s a matter for… you to talk to him about.”

“The Premier has fallen well short,” says Ray.

“I can’t expect any minister or any premier to be across every coronial finding in every state and territory.

“But I would’ve expected someone would’ve brought this to the attention of the executives of government when the coroner said ultimately, responsibility must rest with the then-chief executive Mr Severin.

“It’s not good enough.”

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline 13 11 14

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