David Ingram ROWLEY - 16/02/2016
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
David Ingram ROWLEY
Hearing: 16 February 2016 at [Withheld]
Members of the Board:
Hon. M. Frater – Panel Convenor
Mr B McMurray
Ms T Williams-Blyth
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. David Ingram Rowley is serving a total sentence of eight years imprisonment, having been found guilty after a High Court trial before a Judge alone on 75 counts of dishonestly using documents to obtain a pecuniary advantage, seven of wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice, and five of supplying false information to the Inland Revenue Department.
2. He was sentenced on 17 August 2012, became eligible to be considered for release on parole on 21 March 2015 and his sentence ends on 19 July 2020.
3. We saw Mr Rowley today for his second parole hearing. Once again he sought to be released on parole.
4. The Board which saw him in March last year noted the absence of any prior criminal history, his good behaviour in Prison and his changed lifestyle, including reconnection with his Christian beliefs and retraining in construction, painting and horticulture. They also noted that with a RoC*RoI score of 0.17968, he was ineligible to attend the Departmental MIRP Programme which they thought he would, “benefit immeasurably from.”
5. But none of this was sufficient to persuade them that he was not an undue risk. More importantly for them was his overall lack of insight into his offending and his limited expression of remorse.
6. Since that hearing, the Court of Appeal has dismissed his appeals against conviction and sentence, and the Supreme Court has dismissed both his and his co-offender’s applications for leave to appeal, except in relation to the trial Judge’s findings that they were guilty of tax evasion.
7. The hearing on that point has been set down for 9 June. However, [Withheld] acknowledged that as concurrent sentences had been imposed for that offending, even if the appeal was successful, it is unlikely to alter the sentence Mr Rowley is serving.
8. In support of parole, [Withheld] submitted that Mr Rowley’s initiative in undertaking a problem gambling course with [Withheld] after his request for an override to allow him to undertake either the MIRP or Short Rehabilitation Programmes was not granted, demonstrates real insight into his offending and determination to rehabilitate.
9. [Withheld] also noted, that Mr Rowley has recently moved to the huts, so that he can begin participating in work outside the wire.
10. In relation to risk, [Withheld] submitted that the overwhelming characteristic of his client’s offending was his naivety. He said that he has addressed this through his remorse, not only for his own situation but also for that of his clients, and through retraining in Prison so that once he is released, he can pursue a career far removed from the practice of accounting.
11. Mr Rowley said that he undertook the problem gambling course because he saw his offending (which had its origins in challenging the Inland Revenue administration of tax) as having some similarities to gambling. He said that he has benefitted considerably from the counselling, and that it can continue in the community. And this is confirmed in a letter from the counsellor. She said that “overall he has shown an openness and willingness to reflect on the consequences and impact of his offending and gained increased understanding of himself, both in relation to his offending and how he functions at times of stress and difficulty”.
12. While this counselling has obviously been of assistance to Mr Rowley, the majority of the Board is not satisfied that the point has been reached where the tests in sections 7 and 28 of the Parole Act 2002 have been met. While Mr Rowley obviously has a better understanding of himself and the life that he was living at the time he offended, we are not satisfied that he fully understands or accepts the part that he played in the offending, as described by both Kos J, and in the Court of Appeal judgment.
13. According to the latest parole assessment report, although he has been denied access to the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme, he can attend the Short Rehabilitation Programme if the facilitator deems him suitable.
14. While we accept that it is by no means certain that he will be offered a place on the SRP, we consider that the opportunity should be explored further as, like the previous Board, we consider that he would benefit from undertaking such a programme. In particular, we think that he would benefit from being involved in an Intensive Group Programme and that will assist in mitigating his risk to the point where it is no longer undue.
15. We also consider it important that the appeal process is concluded and Mr Rowley has the opportunity to reflect upon the findings of the Supreme Court as to his culpability.
16. Accordingly, parole is declined.
17. Mr Rowley’s next hearing will be scheduled during December 2016. This date has been fixed to allow sufficient time for the Supreme Court hearing to take place and the judgment to be delivered. We also expect the SRP assessment to be concluded and, if he is offered a place, the programme completed. If these happen earlier than anticipated we would anticipate a further application under section 26 of the Parole Act 2003 for an earlier hearing.
18. Finally, we note that we support Mr Rowley’s participation in re-integrative activities, including Release to Work, once he has completed the SRP, or the assessment only, if access to the programme is declined.
Hon. M. Frater