Nigel Shane JOHNSTONE - 26/04/2016


Parole hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002



Hearing: 26 April 2016 via AVL from NZPB Head Office, Wellington to [withheld]

Members of the Board: 
       Hon. MA Frater – Panel Convenor
       Dr J Skipworth
       Dr P Taylor
       Ms S Pakura


In attendance:  

Support People:  


1. Nigel Shane Johnstone is serving a life sentence of imprisonment for murder.  He committed this crime on 25 March 1995 and was sentenced on 28 March 1996.

2. Since then, he has been released and recalled twice.  Both applications were initiated following incidents involving domestic violence.

3. The most recent recall began with an interim order on 11 May 2011, followed by a final order three months later.

4. Mr Johnstone has been back in custody now for almost five years.  During that time he has completed the STURP programme.  That happened in November 2014.

5. In the decision of 23 June last, the Board queried the extent to which Mr Johnstone could apply the lessons learned in the STURP and said that in the context of his extensive and varied history of offending, the changes he had made were recent and relatively limited.

6. They said that it was not enough that he reacted aggressively and angrily rather than violently; He needed to maintain balanced and appropriate behaviour over an extended period.  They also noted that he would be assisted in that if he had the opportunity of engaging in reintegrative activities such as Self Care, Release to Work and temporary releases.

7. Although the attitudinal and behavioural changes have generally been maintained during the past 10 months, as Mr Johnstone has been unable to lower his security classification to minimum, he has been precluded from engaging in the reintegrative activities identified by the last Board.

8. In July last year he moved to [withheld] in order to take this next step but, in the event, stayed there less than a month.  He was unable to work in the community because one of his victims lives in the area. 

9. His PCO was adamant that because of his past and the nature of his offending, Mr Johnstone would be unable, as a matter of policy, to achieve a minimum security classification [Withheld].

10. In the circumstances, we have had to assess Mr Johnstone’s risk on the basis of the work he has done in custody to address his offending and the strength of his release plan.  Having done so, we are satisfied that he has made significant progress. Post the STURP he has a very different attitude towards women and is better able to deal with emotional issues.  He is able to talk with family members about his concerns and his high risk situations. Importantly, we note that he has demonstrated prosocial skills, including good communication and the ability to stop and consider options prior to making decisions.  He has also demonstrated improvements in his previous tendency to react in a negative manner, and a general improvement in his problem solving abilities.

11. The primary challenge for Mr Johnstone, going forward, will be in dealing with new relationships.  Since the last hearing he has abandoned his previous resolve never to enter into a domestic relationship.  Instead, he now says that he will not do so for two years. 

12. We are satisfied that whenever that happens, Mr Johnstone now has the skills to assess and develop relationships more carefully and that he will do so in consultation with [withheld], his Probation Officer and, if available, his psychologist. He is unlikely to rush in, as he has done in the past.

13. While there is now less certainty about the availability of a job with [withheld], Mr Johnstone has established a good work record as a member of the [withheld], which he will apply on release. 

14. In our view, Mr Johnstone has reached the point where his risk of re offending can be managed in the community to the point where it will not be undue.  Accordingly, we have decided to release him on parole.  However, we are deferring the release date to allow a reintegration hui to be convened prior to release.  This is to provide an opportunity for Mr Johnstone and members of his family to meet with other supporters such as [withheld], his case manager, his Probation Officer and, if available, a representative of [withheld] and a psychologist from Psychological Services to talk about and prepare a coordinated plan for his release.

15. In the expectation that that meeting will have been held by then, Mr Johnstone will be released on [withheld] 2016.  He will, of course, be subject to the standard conditions set out in section 14 of the Parole Act 2002 for life. Unless otherwise specified, he will also be subject to the following special conditions for five years post-release.

16. We note that we are requiring Mr Johnstone to attend for a face to face progress hearing because of the nature of his index offence and the fact that he has been recalled twice. The ongoing need for partial residential restrictions can be reviewed at that time.

17. We have also included a condition requiring Mr Johnstone to advise his Probation Officer if he enters into a new domestic relationship.  Unless his Probation Officer is aware that he has done so, the officer will be unable to support him at this critical time.

18. The special conditions are:
   (1) On the day of release, travel directly to [withheld] and await the arrival of the Probation Officer and electronic monitoring company.
   (2) To reside at [withheld] and not to move from that or any other approved address without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
   (3) To remain at [withheld] between the hours of 9:00pm-6:00am daily and to comply with all the special conditions of Residential Restrictions.
   (4) To attend for a psychological assessment and complete any treatment/counselling as recommended by the psychological assessment to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and treatment provider.
   (5) To undertake and complete appropriate treatment/counselling to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer and treatment provider. The details of the counselling or treatment to be determined by your Probation Officer.
   (6) To notify your Probation Officer prior to starting, terminating or changing your position or place of employment.
   (7) Not to have contact or otherwise associate with the victim(s) of your offending, directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written consent of your Probation Officer.
   (8) To inform your Probation Officer if you enter into an intimate relationship.
   (9) Not to possess or consume alcohol or illicit drugs.
   (10) To attend a hearing in December 2016, notified to you in writing and in accordance with any directions given by the New Zealand Parole Board to enable the New Zealand Parole Board to monitor your compliance with your release conditions.


Hon. MA Frater
Panel Convenor