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PM: No need for minister to resign

Published: 6:26AM Tuesday December 12, 2006 Source: Newstalk ZB

Prime Minister Helen Clark says there is no need for the Corrections Minister to resign over the Liam Ashley case.

Ashley was strangled to death in the back of a prison van by 25-year-old George Charlie Baker while they were being transported from the North Shore District Court in August.

A report into his death was public on Monday.

Clark says the 17-year-old died a gruesome death which should never have happened.

She says Damien O'Connor is in the position of being responsible, but not to blame.

O'Connor says his resignation wouldn't solve the problem.

He says his job is to sort the system out and make sure nothing like this happens again.

National's Simon Power believes while O'Connor is not to blame personally, he is responsible for his department and should offer his resignation.

Helen Clark has also said she has confidence in the head of Corrections Barry Matthews, who she describes as a very competent head of department.

She says any talk of heads rolling should be conducted between O'Connor and Matthews.

Chubb Security says it is unlikely anyone will lose their job over the report into Ashley's death.

The report says information passed onto Chubb was inaccurate and some parts were omitted.

Chubb managing director Tom Nickels believes his staff made reasonable decisions on the day Liam Ashley died, and their actions were thorough, considering the information they were given.

However, Nickels agrees changes need to be made saying there must be better communication between Corrections, the police, the courts and Chubb.

He says some changes have already been made.

Prisoners at the front of the van are checked every 15 minutes and all youth are separated from older prisoners.

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