James Henry WILSON - 08/04/2016

James Henry WILSON

Hearing: 8 April 2016 via AVL from NZPB Head Office, [withheld]

Members of the Board: 
      Hon. JW Gendall QC – Panel Convenor
      Judge JP Gittos
      Assoc. Prof. P Brinded
      Mr L Comer


In attendance:  

Support People:  


1. James Henry Wilson is serving a life sentence imposed on 16 February 2000 for the crime of murder.  His parole eligibility date was 9 February 2013.  He was convicted also of obstructing the course of justice arising out of manipulative actions in endeavouring to secure the help of a witness to induce an innocent man to confess for that crime. His crime was essentially the gang related execution of a woman.

2. He was last seen by the Parole Board on 30 April 2014 when parole was declined and a two year postponement order was made.  Since then he made an application to review that decision, as well as an application under section 26 of the Parole Act 2002, both of which were declined. 

3. There was a view expressed that Mr Wilson needed a lengthy period of reintegration.  He had been engaged for quite some time working in the community gang but has had no other formal reintegration activities, such as Self Care, Release to Work or home leave.  He and his counsel say this is because prison management’s policy has determined that he is not eligible for those measures. 

4. Mr Wilson has a RoC*RoI of 0.70954 and a total of 99 convictions since 1974.  He is described as a high-risk high profile offender.  He has completed Drug Treatment Unit and STURP rehabilitation programmes.

5. Through his counsel he seeks that parole considerations be deferred for a short time, that is a matter of months. It is said this will enable his application to be released to [withheld] to be assessed and determined. The submission is that, if that is granted and successful, he thereafter be released on parole to [withheld].  It is said that that is a necessary reintegration path.

6. We do not accept that proposition.  He cannot be released on parole whilst he remains an undue risk to the safety of the community and the Board has to first make that decision and only if positive then may enable release to [withheld].

7. Mr Wilson has a total score on the psychopathy checklist (PCL:SV) above the average score found for New Zealand offenders and a higher score on factor 1 and factor 2.  That is internationally recognised as relevant to assessment of risk though in itself of course does not determine the issue the Board is required to consider.

8. The psychologist’s opinion in paragraph 17 of the report of 2014, before the postponement order was made, was that:
Mr Wilson remains at a high risk of violent offending although he has learned skills and developed insight that might mitigate this risk.  His risk level will likely remain high until he has successfully demonstrated his ability to manage his behaviour in a consistent manner and over a prolonged period of time and across context.

9. At present the only context in which Mr Wilson has been able to provide such demonstration (and this may of course not be his fault), is work in the community gang.

10. The most addendum psychological report dated 20 March 2016 says that Mr Wilson:
Gave the impression that if there were difficulties during his parole he would be able to manage these on his own, however given assessment of his risk, this is not considered a reliable assertion, and is either somewhat naïve and/or indicative of avoidance of necessary parole oversight.  It is of concern that Mr Wilson currently does not appear to be holding his future probation officer up as a potential valuable helper and support suggesting an overly independent approach to management on parole.11. The psychologist goes on to recommend in paragraph (29),
“That Mr Wilson continue to engage in reintegrative activities as he deepens his preparation and capability for effective management on parole.”

12. The psychologist recommends that if a Release to Work opportunity were to be afforded to Mr Wilson,“That were this to take place that work placement would require engagement with others to facilitate co-operative skills for Mr Wilson.”  The psychologist records that it would be useful for Mr Wilson to continue with his community gang until he is prepared for his next step in the reintegrative process which tends to suggest that there are other reintegrative measures possibly on the horizon.

13. For the moment, however, Mr Wilson is not able to satisfy us that he is no longer an undue risk to the safety of the community. The Board is not able to grant him parole today.

14. We record that we have advised him that panel saw family members of the woman he murdered and conveyed to him their very strong view that he should not be released.  He will be seen again in the week commencing 28 May 2017.


Hon. JW Gendall QC
Panel Convenor