Stephen LAING - 23/06/2017

Parole Hearing
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002 and

Conditions hearing
Under section 18(2) (SRD) of the Parole Act 2002

Stephen LAING

Hearing: 23 June 2017 at [Withheld]

Members of the Board:

  • Ms M Coleman (Acting Panel Convenor)
  • Mr B McMurray
  • Ms T Williams-Blyth


1. Stephen Laing, age 34, appeared before the Board today for further consideration of parole on a cumulative 10 year sentence for importation and possession of objectionable material.

2. Mr Laing was originally sentenced to five years in prison for possession of child pornography and was released on parole from that sentence.  Within weeks Mr Laing was accessing adult pornography on the internet in contravention of his parole condition.  Within months he was accessing child pornography.  He was resentenced to the maximum prison term of five years for the charges that he faced.

3. Mr Laing has two previous convictions for similar offending.  In 2003 he was sentenced to two years’ supervision and in 2005 received a one year prison sentence.

4.  Mr Laing’s statutory release date of 16 October 2017 is looming.

5. Mr Laing last saw the Board in July 2016.  That Board noted he had completed [Withheld] while in prison and a SAFE programme while in the community, yet that had not kept him offence-free.  The Board was also concerned about the lack of oversight and strategies that Mr Laing had in place to keep him offence free on release, given he was seen as posing a high risk of reoffending.

6. Mr Laing is in a similar position before this Board today.  The one positive step is that it appears that he has taken steps to ensure that there is a continuity of psychological assistance available to him on his release, although this has yet to be confirmed.

7. Mr Laing was quite candid with Board today about the difficulty that he will have in staying away from accessing pornography.  He says that he knows it is up to him to stay within the boundaries, but clearly he is quite apprehensive about his own ability to stay safe in the community.  One example he gave us was that he did not want to attend a relapse prevention group for [Withheld] because he was concerned that he would be asked by other attendees to access child pornography and provide it to them.  He told the Board that if that happened he knew he should tell his Probation Officer and report it to them because those people would either be already accessing pornography or likely to but told us that in reality he probably would not do so.

8. With his past rapid relapse into reoffending and his own admission that he will find staying offence-free a difficult challenge for him the Board cannot be satisfied that he would not pose an undue risk if he was to be released on parole prior to his statutory release date.  For this reason parole is declined and the Board moves to set final release conditions for Mr Laing.

9. In light of the concerns expressed to us today, the Board considers it to be important Mr Laing have some sessions with a psychologist to go over his safety plan, again prior to release.  There also needs to be a whānau hui where he would share his safety plan with his family and his Probation Officer.  The attendance of his prison psychologist would also be beneficial in terms of supporting a seamless handover.

10. The special conditions we impose along with the standard conditions of parole will remain in force for six months past Mr Laing’s statutory release date.

11. The special conditions are;
(1) If directed, to attend, participate in and adhere to the rules of a relapse prevention group to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and group facilitator.
(2) To attend for a psychological assessment and attend and complete any treatment or counselling as recommended by the psychological assessment to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and treatment provider.
(3) Undertake and complete appropriate treatment or counselling to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer and treatment provider. The details of the counselling or treatment to be determined by your Probation Officer.
(4) To reside at an address as approved by a Probation Officer and not to move from that address without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(5) To notify your Probation Officer before starting, terminating or changing your position or place of employment (paid/unpaid or voluntary) including any engagement with study or training institutes/courses/programmes and not to commence any said employment or training without prior written approval by a Probation Officer.
(6) To only engage in any community or sporting clubs, groups or recreational activities with the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(7) Not to have contact or associate with any person under the age of 16 years, directly or indirectly, unless you are under the direct supervision of an adult who has been approved in writing by a Probation Officer, or you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(8) Not to use or possess any device capable of connecting to the internet, or by capturing/viewing/storing or distributing images or dialogue, unless with the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(9) Not to enter or remain on the premises of any internet cafe, any public library, or other place that might reasonably be expected to have internet capable devices for public use unless approved in writing by a Probation Officer.
(10) Upon release from prison, to travel directly to your approved address and await the arrival of a Probation Officer and a representative of the monitoring company.
(11) To comply with the requirements of electronic monitoring, and provide access to the approved residence to the Probation Officer and representatives of the monitoring company, for the purpose of maintaining the electronic monitoring equipment as directed by the Probation Officer.
(12) To submit to electronic monitoring in the form of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with any condition(s) relating to your whereabouts condition(s).

Ms M Coleman
Acting Panel Convenor