Stephen FERNYHOUGH - 21/11/2017

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Stephen Anthony FERNYHOUGH

Hearing: 21 November 2017

at [withheld] via AVL to NZPB Offices, Wellington

Members of the Board:

  • Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
  • Mr D Hauraki
  • Mr P Elenio

Counsel: [withheld]

Support Persons: [withheld]


  1. Stephen Anthony Fernyhough has 17 months remaining on a sentence of five years’ imprisonment for manslaughter.  His statutory release date is 27 April 2019.
  2. Earlier in his sentence, Mr Fernyhough attended the Drug Treatment Programme and the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme, but on both occasions, he was exited from the programme.  He returned to the Drug Treatment Programme in October and has completed the first month without incident.
  3. We note a pattern of misconducts that ended in July of this year.  Mr Fernyhough told us that he had accepted the feedback given to him about the way he speaks to others and had worked hard on the way he communicates.  That point was emphasised by his counsel, [withheld], who helpfully provided written submissions in advance of the hearing. [withheld] referred to Mr Fernyhough’s attendance at the Drug Treatment Programme and that he was not scheduled to graduate until April next year.  She sought the ability for Mr Fernyhough to return for parole to be considered soon after completion of the programme.  He had a strong release proposal to put before the Board with respect to accommodation at [withheld] address, the potential for work and family support.
  4. Ms [withheld] conceded to past difficulties with Mr Fernyhough’s interactions with others, but submitted he had made a real effort over the last few months to change.  The same theme was echoed by Mr Fernyhough’s PCO who reported the change in his attitude and motivation when he recently returned to his unit.
  5. Prior to today’s hearing, the Board received written submissions from two of Mr Fernyhough’s victims and we had a meeting with a third.  The main points of that meeting were conveyed to Mr Fernyhough.  His victims were of the view that he had done insufficient work in prison to change; that he remained a high risk to others; that he had shown no remorse for his offending; and that he should remain in prison until the end of his sentence.  Upon release, they reiterated the point that he should not enter the Dunedin area.  So far as the last point is concerned, Mr Fernyhough acknowledged that he will not enter the area in which his victims live and work.  The Board notes that his release proposal is centred in [withheld].  Mr Fernyhough also said to the Board that he was very sorry for what he did to his victim.  He had never intended to cause him the harm that resulted and he said he was truly sorry for doing so.
  6. Whilst we have noted the submissions made on his behalf by [withheld], the Board is of the view that Mr Fernyhough needs not only to successfully complete the Drug Treatment Programme, but also to attend and complete the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme as recommended by the Psychologist in her report of September 2015.  There are issues with his violence and limited insight referred to by the psychologist that need to be addressed in either the intensive forum provided by the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme, or individual counselling.
  7. [withheld]
  8. Parole today is declined.  Mr Fernyhough will be scheduled to return to the Board in 15 months. As indicated, the Board supports his progression onto the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme, or psychological counselling, after completion of the Drug Treatment Programme.    He will be seen by the Board by 28 February 2019 and depending on his progress, parole for a short period will be considered, or alternatively, release conditions imposed.

Mr N Trendle
Panel Convenor