Victim's family outraged murderer is seeking compensation

By Dean Nathan

A victim's family is outraged that their daughter's murderer is seeking compensation.  Prisoner Jimmy Akuhata is seeking punitive damages after sustaining brain damage from a beating in Mount Eden.

But the family of his victim says that any compensation should go to their grandchildren.

Jimmy Akuhata claims he suffered brain damage after being assaulted while in Mount Eden Prison, which doesn't sit well with the family of Ashley Edwards.

Karena Edwards, “Angry!  Really angry!  Why is this about money for him given what we're suffering and what he's done to my child and to my grandchildren?”

Monday marked the third anniversary since Akuhata pushed Ashley Edwards from a bridge in central Whangarei before holding her under water.

Edwards says, “I believe that the compensation would go to Ashley's children and to homicide or domestic violence victims.  You know, he intentionally took Ashley’s' life from her children.  They're the ones and myself that have been left to suffer and it’s been a huge loss for us.”

The Department of Corrections have clarified that these types of issues can be taken to the Victim's Special Claims Tribunal where a victim's claim for compensation isn't restricted to the amount of money held in the trust for the prisoner and compensation awarded to the victim may exceed that amount.

Despite acknowledging the human rights of prisoners and the need for a thorough investigation into how Akuhata received brain damage while on remand in Mount Eden Prison, the grandmother of his children says it's only right that they receive the benefits of any compensation payment he may receive.

Edwards says, “It would go towards their education and especially for Ashley's oldest child who is going to need extra resources with her learning difficulties and that sort of thing so definitely education.”