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Senior prison guard feared Mercanti

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: A security breach that put jailed former bikie boss Troy Mercanti out of reach of prison guards struck fear into the heart of their senior colleague who Mercanti had earlier threatened, court documents reveal.

In a decision published today, WA industrial commissioner Stephen Kenner revealed that despite otherwise good behaviour in jail Mercanti had threatened a senior prison guard on multiple occasions.

In an appeal dismissed today by Mr Kenner, the WA prison officers’ union had opposed a decision by the Minister for Corrective Services to force a Casuarina guard to transfer to Hakea Prison.

The planned transfer arose after an inquiry at the prison found the guard and another guard were negligent and careless in February, 2012 when in escorting Mercanti through Casuarina they failed to stand close enough to, and in front of and behind, Mercanti as he unexpectedly addressed a third and senior guard.

Mr Kenner considered findings from the prison inquiry that the senior guard had earlier received multiple threats from Mercanti and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Evidence before Mr Kenner recalled how when Mercanti appeared in the doorway of the senior guard’s office the guard felt “fearful of an attack by him”.

Mercanti was not aggressive or threatening on the day in question.

However, Mr Kenner considered there had been a history of conflict and significant antagonism between Mercanti and the senior guard.

He also considered evidence that because Mercanti had been allowed to stray beyond the reach of the two guards the senior guard had been placed at a “significant and unacceptable risk”.

In March last year, Mercanti was jailed for six years and 10 months for bashing former partner Tammy Kingdon during 15 years of physical abuse.

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