Simon Gordon WALLACE - 04/12/2017
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Simon Gordon WALLACE
Hearing: 4 December 2017
at [withheld] via Video Conference to [withheld]
Members of the Board:
- Ms M Coleman (Panel Convenor)
- Mr P Elenio
- Ms W Taumaunu
Support Person: [withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Simon Gordon Wallace, who is aged 51, appeared before the Board today for further consideration of parole on a three year six month sentence for injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, burglary and careless operation of a motor vehicle causing injury.
- Mr Wallace’s statutory release date is 25 November 2018. These offences are Mr Wallace’s sole criminal convictions.
- Mr Wallace’s last appearance before the Board was on 10 August 2017. Mr Wallace sought to explain his offending as having arisen from the excess use of medication prescribed to him for insomnia. That Board did not share Mr Wallace’s confidence that that was the sole explanation for his behaviour on that night and asked again for a psychiatric assessment. The Board had understood that this was to have been available to it for that August 2017 hearing.
- Mr Wallace subsequently applied for an earlier hearing under section 26 of the Parole Act 2002. The basis of his application was that the forensic report would not be able to be completed in time for the 2017 hearing. The Panel Convenor who dealt with that application notes in his report that Mr Wallace seems to believe that the advice came to him from the Parole Board. The Panel Convenor records that there is no indication that this was so.
- In any event, as the Panel Convenor pointed out in his decision, even if there were misunderstandings about what was to be provided when, it was unlikely that the necessary reports would have been available for a hearing scheduled at an earlier date. The application was declined.
- The Board now has the forensic psychiatric report requested. That report does not provide support for Mr Wallace’s view that the only reason for his offending was his excessive use of prescription medication. [withheld] states that the possibility of a paradoxical reaction may not be able to be eliminated completely, but she says that in her view it is unlikely that Mr Wallace’s offending is solely based on his abuse of prescription drugs. [withheld] states that while medication of that type can impair memory, cognition, affect judgement and act as a relevant disinhibiting/destabilising factor in the way other abused substances can, Mr Wallace’s ongoing lack of insight into all potential risk factors in his offending is an issue relevant to the consideration of ongoing future risk.
- [withheld] further said:
"When considering the primary motivating factor for the assault on the female victim it is hard not to come to the conclusion that the relationship between Mr Wallace and the victim…must play a role, if not a central role, in trying to understand what drove Mr Wallace’s behaviour on the night of the assault. Although Mr Wallace denies that the relationship strayed outside of that of a platonic friendship, the relationship appeared intense and at times conflictual on occasion, with the added complication that a significant amount of money had been loaned to the victim some time before."
- It is apparent from our discussion with Mr Wallace today that he remains heavily invested in his view that the reason for his offending was solely his misuse of prescription medication. While he said that he accepted what [withheld] said, he also said “I know what I know and I believe what I believe”. He was also critical of [withheld] for not contacting [withheld].
- [withheld] recommends offence-focussed intervention in either in custody or in the community. In our view this should occur prior to Mr Wallace leaving prison.
- It would be appear from the facts of the offending that Mr Wallace broke into the victim’s house on that night with the intention of committing a much more serious crime than the one for which he has been convicted. While the circumstances of his offending may be unusual, they are such that the Board cannot be satisfied that, untreated, Mr Wallace would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community. As [withheld] states in her report, while there may be a low likelihood of future violence, if it did occur it could be serious or life threatening. When considering whether risk is undue, the Board is required to consider the nature and seriousness of any future offending as well as its likelihood: s 7(3) Parole Act 2002.
- Parole today is declined. Mr Wallace will be seen again in July 2018 and by the end of that month at the latest.
- The Board requests that Mr Wallace be provided with the necessary psychological treatment to enable him to develop insight into his offending and to update his safety plan accordingly. We appreciate that he does not automatically qualify for treatment with a psychologist. However, in light of the unusual nature of this offending we trust that an exception can be made.
- For completeness, the Board notes that Mr Wallace took issue with comments in the last Board’s decision, claiming he did not make some of the statements attributed to him, just as he had done at the previous hearing. The Board also notes there are disagreements between him and the victim about what happened on the night and subsequently. We cannot resolve those differences and we have not taken them into account in reaching our decision. In our view, the key issue is the misplaced reliance by Mr Wallace on his misuse of prescription drugs as providing the sole answer to his offending. The information before us from [withheld] and before that from [withheld], states that the likely reason for Mr Wallace’s offending centres on the relationship with the victim. The nature of the offence and the planning and premeditation involved supports this view.
Ms M Coleman