Shane KAREPA - 09/03/2016
Application for recall
Under section 60(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Delegate for The Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections
Hearing: 9 March 2016 at [Withheld] by Video Link to NZ Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board:
Judge D Mather (Panel Convenor)
Ms G Hughes
Dr S Davis
Counsel: [Withheld] for Applicant
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Mr Karepa is serving a life imprisonment sentence for murder. He was sentenced in April 1989. He was released on parole in March 2001.
2. On 17 February this year, the Probation Service applied for his recall. An interim recall order was made that day. The grounds recorded by the Board Chairperson are that on the basis of the Probation affidavit, Mr Karepa posed an undue risk to the safety of the community in that:
(a) He was failing to engage honestly with his Probation Officer.
(b) He has refused to acknowledge the standard conditions of his parole.
(c) He has adopted transient behaviour without informing or having the approval of Probation.
(d) He has moved to an address with [Withheld] towards whom there has been past violence.
3. Cumulatively, these factors elevate the risk to public safety to an undue level justifying interim recall.
4. At this hearing, Mr Karepa appeared on his own behalf; the Case Probation Officer who swore the affidavit, [Withheld], appeared along with a Senior Probation Officer and [Withheld] appeared as counsel representing Probation.
5. At the outset, Mr Karepa said he was guilty of breaching his release conditions. This was on the basis of him leaving the approved address with [Withheld] who was his sponsor in Auckland and returning to [Withheld].
6. He gave a quite credible explanation for this decision. He was concerned about the violence and drugs at [Withheld] and the potential for violence both by others and by himself.
7. When he met with a Probation Officer on 10 February, he failed to disclose these problems. He next reported to Probation in [Withheld] on 15 February where he did tell them of concerns he had around the Auckland address. He gave as pretexts for leaving Auckland attending either a tangi or a funeral which he acknowledges were false. He simply felt he had no option but to return [Withheld] in [Withheld].
8. Probation have raised concerns about the appropriateness of that address because of problems between him and [Withheld] in the past. When questioned, they were only able to identify incidents giving rise to reports in 2004 and 2006. They described Mr Karepa’s relationship with [Withheld] as on and off but were unable to contradict his claim that for virtually all the period since he was released on parole in 2001 he has lived with [Withheld] in [Withheld] and elsewhere.
9. Mr Karepa admitted to problems with alcohol and drugs some years ago but none recently. Again, Probation were unable to offer any evidence to the contrary.
10. In her affidavit, [Withheld] refers to a 2012 psychological report, a copy of which was not available to the Board. That report apparently records, as factors likely to increase Mr Karepa’s risk of offending, compliance issues and hostility towards Corrections staff. There is no doubt that Mr Karepa was non-compliant with one of his important release conditions as to address when he moved from Auckland to [Withheld]. He also conceded some hostility towards Probation when recently discussing his obligation to comply with release conditions.
11. The present view of Probation is that they want to reassess Mr Karepa’s proposed address which, at this stage, appears to still be the address of [Withheld].
12. It is clear that Mr Karepa has breached one of his release conditions. However, before a final recall order can be made, the Board must be satisfied that undue risk is presented to the safety of the community. On balance, we find that there is undue risk, given the events of the last two months and, in particular, question marks over the appropriateness of Mr Karepa’s address with [Withheld]. However, we consider that steps should be taken promptly to reassess Mr Karepa’s circumstances which the Board will consider when he next appears.
13. A final recall order is made. Mr Karepa is to reappear before the Board on or before 31 May 2016.
Judge D Mather