Joyce Eileen CONWELL - 07/12/2017
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Joyce Eileen CONWELL
Hearing: 7 December 2017
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
- Ms P Rose
- Assoc Prof. P Brinded
- Mr J Thomson
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Joyce Eileen Conwell is serving a life sentence of imprisonment imposed in February 2000 for murder. She was released on parole on 6 June 2012, but was the subject of a final recall order on 7 July 2017.
- Ms Conwell’s convictions for fraud-related offending principally between July and August 2016 led the Board to make a final recall order. In its decision, the Board noted that Ms Conwell’s dishonesty offending continued through to April 2017 after she had been the subject of an earlier Parole Board appearance to consider a final recall order. In effect, two months after that appearance she re-offended.
- [withheld] appeared as counsel and made submissions in support of Ms Conwell’s release on parole.
- Ms Conwell’s explanation for her fraud and money-laundering convictions was that she was duped through a relationship she had formed through the Internet. She said that she was advised by supporters not to engage with the person on the other end of that relationship, but she continued to do so as she trusted him. We note Ms Conwell denied responsibility for that offending initially but later pleaded guilty. She said that she accepted responsibility for her offending, though her discussion with us left us in considerable doubt as to the wholesomeness of that acceptance. We also note the explanation she advanced to the Board at the recall hearing.
- In the course of the hearing Ms Conwell was asked whether she had discussed the issues around the internet relationship with her probation officer. It is apparent that she had not done so. Some of her explanations raised significant question marks in the Board’s mind as to her commitment to working with her probation officer while she was on parole. By way of example Ms Conwell’s reaction to the need to seek approval to join various clubs seem to us to have raised unhelpful issues of entitlement that contributed to her lack of openness with her Probation Officer, and to her offending.
- In all, we fall well short of being satisfied that if released, Ms Conwell would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community. We endorse the recommendation made in the psychological report dated 3 October 2017 that Ms Conwell would benefit from a period of engagement with the psychologist.
- So far as her release proposal is concerned, Ms Conwell has been accepted by the [withheld] for a short-term accommodation in [withheld]. She said she also had the support of the nuns in [withheld] and a male friend whom she identified. It was her intention to relocate to [withheld] or [withheld] after a short period in [withheld] where her [withheld] and other family members live.
- The psychologist commented with respect to her release plan that it did not address risk issues and lacked the level of support that was necessary. The Board shares that view.
- Despite the submissions made on her behalf by [withheld] the Board is not satisfied that Ms Conwell met the statutory criteria for release on parole. It is declined. In addition to Ms Conwell working with the psychologist, we invite her case manager to work with Ms Conwell to develop a far stronger release plan than is presently before the Board.
- She will be scheduled to return to the Board in 12 months by 6 December 2018.
Mr N Trendle