Robert Conchie HARRIS - 21/08/2017

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Robert Conchie HARRIS

Hearing: 21 August 2017

at Auckland Prison via AVL from NZPB Head Office, Wellington

Members of the Board:

  • Hon. J W Gendall, QC (Panel Convenor)
  • Ms K Snook
  • Ms S Pakura

In attendance: [withheld]

Counsel: Ms L Smith


  1. Robert Conchie Harris is serving a life sentence for the crime of murder imposed on 25 November 1983.  His index offending involved two murders for which occurred on 25 February 1983.  Since then he has incurred convictions in September 1994 for assaults; 24 March 1995 for assault; 15 May 1995 for burglary (x5), theft (x3), fraud and breach of parole; 1 February 1996 possession of a pistol; 15 April 1996 wilful damage; 18 November 2008 performing an indecent act with a girl and; 16 December 2016 exposing a young person to indecency.  The period of Mr Harris’ parole eligibility was extended to 25 April 2011.
  2. He has been released on parole and recalled twice. In addition he has been admitted to and exited from the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme twice.  On the second occasion he entered the programme in October 2015, but was removed because on 24 March 2016 he wrote grossly pornographic letters to [withheld] and he was removed from that programme in August 2016.
  3. The parole assessment report records that he needs to have intensive one-to-one psychological counselling interventions to address his offending needs before he will be able to return to the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme.  The report notes that he continued to minimise and justify his offending. It states that he needs to not only complete that programme, but to prepare a robust relapse prevention plan and successfully engage in maintenance sessions.  At the moment he has not been able to demonstrate any positive behaviour to illustrate changes. And his reoffending within 24‑hours of his last release on parole, as well as engaging in grossly indecent communications to [withheld] last year when in Te Piriti.
  4. His counsel said that he does not expect parole but asked that, “a way forward be found”.  He is keen to undertake one-to-one psychological counselling but he thinks that that should be sufficient given his time in Te Piriti.
  5. The psychologist’s report refers to Mr Harris having personality features which are likely to be a barrier which may inhibit one-to-one psychological treatment.  He has an above average PSL:SV score with superficial grandiosity, deceit, lacking remorse, poor behavioural controls, irresponsibility, lacking goals and exhibiting anti-social behaviour.  He is described as a high risk offender. The report says that he has not had effective treatment or addressed his sexual and violent offending.  He has been involved in fighting and assaults in prison. His serious offending over a period since 1994 has now moved into the areas of sexual deviancy.  Mr Harris is currently facing active charges (of historical allegations) which will be determined by a jury within the next two to three weeks.
  6. He is a high and undue risk offender and the Intel report in relation to the communications that he sent to [withheld] is especially disturbing, given its nature and shocking content.
  7. Counsel has asked Board to record that Mr Harris says he has a solid family network and support available to him in the community, together with accommodation on family premises, and he disputes Community Corrections concern over the suitability of that accommodation.
  8. Mr Harris is far from being a candidate for parole and it is declined.  A very considerable amount of work is required to be successfully completed.  He will be seen in two years time and that is in the week commencing 5 August 2019.

Hon. J W Gendall, QC
Panel Convenor