‘Hurt feelings’ win killer $1200 compensation

(NZ HERALD)   A man jailed for brutally murdering a teenage girl has been awarded $1200 compensation for hurt feelings and humiliation while in prison.

Andrew Ronald MacMillan was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Dunedin 17-year-old Jayne McLellan in 1988.

This month, the Human Rights Review Tribunal ruled that MacMillan’s rights had been breached because the Corrections Department never showed him the entire contents of a letter alleging he had introduced another teenager to perverted sex while on temporary release from jail.

The letter referred to a relationship MacMillan, 38, had with a Christchurch 16-year-old when he was completing a rehabilitation programme at a centre in the city in 2000.

The tribunal said it was understandable that a prisoner who had been told about a letter containing potentially damaging allegations against him and was then not given access to that letter could suffer anxiety or distress.

MacMillan had given evidence that others, including prison wardens, knew what the letter said, and that if he had seen the letter he would have taken all steps to challenge the allegations.

The tribunal said there was no reason to doubt his honesty and MacMillan had suffered “injury to his feelings, loss of dignity and humiliation”.

It warranted a “modest” payment of $1200 for damages.

As part of the findings, the tribunal report outlined how a probation report had contained concerns the relationship MacMillan had formed with the teenager was “potentially dangerous to her in view of MacMillan’s past offending history”.

His life sentence came after Jayne McLellan’s battered body was found face down in a stream and MacMillan was found hiding in bushes nearby.

She had gone out with him willingly that night after MacMillan, a friend of her brothers, called her at home.

She had facial and skull fractures from being struck by a concrete post. She had been raped, cut with a knife and one of her nipples had almost been bitten off.

Stones had been put in her windpipe to stop her breathing and a concrete post was lying across the back of her head.

Jayne McLellan’s mother, Pam Wadsworth, said news of the compensation payment was laughable.

“I have ill health and no money,” she said. “It is us who have got the life sentence, not him. I haven’t seen my daughter for 16 years because of him.”

Mrs Wadsworth said she understood MacMillan was still in prison after breaching his parole conditions.

She had written letters to the Corrections Department and was aware that he had seen them, which she said did not bother her.

Last night, the Herald spoke to the teenage girl’s father, who had written the letter to the head of Paparoa Prison in June 2000.

He said he wrote it as a concerned parent after his daughter had entered into a consensual relationship with MacMillan.

The letter said he had found out that MacMillan had introduced his daughter to various forms of perverted sex.

When told about the payment, the father said: “I suppose it makes me angry, but nothing surprises me.”

The relationship between MacMillan and the teenager developed when he started speaking to her on the telephone, then started seeing her on Friday nights.

The Friday-night visits were a breach of his temporary release conditions and as a result he was sent back to jail.

MacMillan made several requests to see the letter but he was shown only edited versions.

He took his case under the Privacy Act, which provides for access to personal information held by an agency.

He said that if had been able to see the letter when he first asked for it, he would have taken all steps available to him to challenge the allegations in it.

The tribunal findings said that it was “understandable that for a prisoner to be told of a letter containing potentially damaging allegations about the prisoner but not then given access to the letter, it is likely to engender some injury to feelings”.

The report said that Corrections did not argue that there was any good reason to refuse MacMillan access to the information.

The teenager’s father said that eventually his daughter stopped seeing MacMillan and was now a mother.

Date with death

Andrew Ronald MacMillan was found guilty of the 1988 murder of Dunedin teenager Jayne McLellan.

Her battered body was found in a stream.

MacMillan was found hiding in bushes nearby.


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