Manawanui STEWART - 20/01/2016
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Manawanui Rerewhaitarangi STEWART
Hearing: 20 January 2016 at [Withheld]
Members of the Board:
Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
Mr L Tawera
Mr B McMurray
Support persons: [Withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Manawanui Rerewhaitarangi Stewart is making a further appearance before the Board on an effective sentence of six years’ imprisonment for manslaughter, assault and assault with intent to injure. His statutory release date is 12 August 2018.
2. The background to Mr Stewart’s offending has been referred to in the Board’s earlier decision and will not be repeated here. As with the last hearing, the Board met with members of Mr Millanta’s family prior to the hearing. They reiterated the views previously expressed to the Board that they were of the firm view that Mr Stewart ought to complete his full sentence, having regard to the seriousness of his offending; that the truth had yet to emerge with respect to his protecting one of the other persons who was at the scene; and they expressed the wish that when released Mr Stewart should not be permitted to enter the wider Wellington region, including Wellington city and the Hutt Valley.
3. Mr Stewart again reiterated his willingness to participate in a restorative justice meeting with his victims to confirm his position so far as Mr Millanta’s death is concerned. He told the Board that he had been interviewed by a detective recently and had fully disclosed all information in his knowledge to the detective around the circumstances of Mr Millanta’s assault and death.
4. Mr Stewart is presently in the reintegration phases of the [Withheld] programme. He is an active member of the community in Te [Withheld]. He has continued working with the Chaplain and completed a [Withheld] course to level 3.
5. He was represented today by [Withheld], who made submissions in support of release. [Withheld] referred to the strength of his release proposal with [Withheld]. An employment opportunity had recently become available. It involved a full-time position [Withheld]. Mr Stewart had retained his minimum security classification and there was an application presently being considered for him to work outside the wire. [Withheld] emphasised that Mr Stewart has always accepted the gravity of his offending and the realisation that his victims went far beyond Mr Millanta himself. He is consciously doing all he can to better himself.
6. The Board notes the progress Mr Stewart continues to make while subject to this sentence. He has successfully completed all rehabilitation programmes and continues to apply himself diligently to reintegration activities. He is on the runanga in [Withheld] and has an active role in unit activities. He received a positive report from his PCO, [Withheld]
7. In the course of the hearing, the Board discussed with Mr Stewart his former gang associations. We are satisfied, as a result of that discussion, that not only with the efforts Mr Stewart has made to distance himself from those former associations, but also with his plans to remain at a distance when he is released from prison.
8. The Board is of the view that his present release proposal to live with [Withheld] is a sound one. We note the victims’ view with respect to Mr Stewart’s presence in the wider Wellington area, but this panel is of the view that the release proposal before us today provides a sound starting point for Mr Stewart’s transition back into the community. In saying that we note Mr Stewart’s willingness to live at an address wherever it is approved.
9. There is, in the Board’s view, one important step remaining for Mr Stewart to achieve before we could be satisfied that his release would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community. In that regard, we support his progress along the reintegration pathway that he has begun and, in particular, his move to Release to Work and to home leaves. We are of the view that the gains made so far on his sentence require testing through the usual reintegration activities.
10. Accordingly, parole today must be declined. Mr Stewart will be scheduled to return to the Board by 30 October 2016. As indicated, the Board supports his progress through the reintegration activities referred to.
Mr N Trendle