John DURNO - 08/11/2017

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

John Christopher DURNO

Hearing: 8 November 2017

At [withheld]

Members of the Board:

  • Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor)
  • Ms S Pakura
  • Dr J Skipworth

Counsel: [withheld]

In attendance:

[withheld] – Principal Psychologist
[withheld] – Senior Psychologist


  1. John Christopher Durno was sentenced to preventive detention on 5 August 1994, the sentencing Judge imposing a minimum period of imprisonment of 12 years. In dismissing his appeal against sentence, the Court of Appeal recorded that the sentence was imposed in respect of his fifth conviction for rape and occurred within 24 hours of his release from prison for similar offending.
  2. Mr Durno successfully completed the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme in 2008 and individual treatment sessions with a psychologist in succeeding years.  He has been pursuing reintegration activities since then. As the Board noted in its last decision, there have been two issues of concern, in particular that Mr Durno’s support base seems to have dwindled over the years. That was in evidence today when he told us that he had no recent contact with [withheld] with whom he was in communication previously.  The second concern is Mr Durno’s insight with respect to his offending.  In that regard, he is scheduled to commence psychological counselling at the end of the year.
  3. So far as his release plan is concerned, Mr Durno remains on the [withheld] wait list, but there is still an absence of support save for a letter the Board received from a person who Mr Durno asserts he has known for a number of years and with whom he came into contact through regular letters following a radio talkback programme where she began to share her life and struggles with him afterwards.
  4. We note in passing that one of Mr Durno’s victims was introduced to him through a relationship commenced by way of correspondence. It is an issue we raised with Mr Durno but he did not see any difficulties in maintaining the contact with his supporter.
  5. [withheld] appeared on behalf of Mr Durno and made written submissions in support of his release on parole. Counsel spent some time critical at the lack of effort of “the system”, as he described it, to providing rehabilitation and reintegration opportunities in a timely manner.  The reality is, however, Mr Durno is, as the Board noted in its last decision, some distance from eligibility to be considered for release on parole. He has been assessed as being at high risk of sexually reoffending. He has an undeveloped release plan, minimal support, and there remain offending needs that require addressing through individual treatment.  A return to a wider range of reintegration activities to test his progress would also be necessary.
  6. Parole is declined today. Until those matters are further advanced, the Board could not be satisfied that Mr Durno met the statutory test for parole. He will be scheduled to return to the Board in 18 months, by 2 May 2019.

Mr N Trendle
Panel Convenor