James Grant COOPER - 17/12/2016

Parole Hearing
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

James Grant COOPER

Hearing: 17 November 2016 at [Withheld]

Members of the Board:

  • Judge J Lovell-Smith (Panel Convenor)
  • Dr S Davis
  • Mr A Hackney

Support Persons:

  • [Withheld]


1. James Cooper appeared before the Board for consideration of parole in respect of a four year sentence imposed for manslaughter and obstructing and perverting the course of justice.  He has a total sentence of seven years and three months.

2. The previous Board had asked that urgent consideration be given to an override so that Mr Cooper could engage with the [Withheld]  programme, and that if that was not appropriate, then one on one sessions with a psychologist to commence as soon as possible.  The Board encouraged Mr Cooper to work further towards his reintegration within the prison and to work with his case manager on developing a more comprehensive release plan.

3. We advised Mr Cooper that the Board had met previously with the victims.

4. Mr Cooper was today supported by [Withheld] at the hearing.  He made it clear at the outset that his concern was to be placed on [Withheld] programme.

5. Mr Cooper has a current security classification of minimum.

6. The parole assessment report notes that Mr Cooper was subjected to the random drug testing procedure on 26 September 2016, at which time he produced a “dilute” sample.  However, he maintains an identified a drug free status.

7. Mr Cooper was working in the kitchen [Withheld] in May 2016 when he was observed taking coffee and concealing it on his person.  A misconduct resulted and he lost his place in the Self Care Unit and lost his employment.

8. There are also file notes that refer to Mr Cooper’s anxieties and ongoing “neediness” but there are other file notes which describe his behaviour as quiet and compliant.

9. The psychologist, in the report dated 25 February 2016, recommended that Mr Cooper be overridden for referral to the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme.  The specific recommendations of the psychologist noted that although Mr Cooper has completed programmes targeting his substance abuse, he has received no treatment to address violence, poor emotional management, cognitive distortions associated with avoidance and poor problem solving skills.

10. The Board remains of the view that the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme is appropriate for Mr Cooper, given the nature and seriousness of his offending.

11. Taking all these matters into account the Board is not satisfied that should Mr Cooper be released he would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community.  Parole is declined.  Mr Cooper will be seen again in November 2017 and no later than 30 November 2017.  We ask that the psychological report be updated for the next Board.

Judge J Lovell-Smith
Panel Convenor