Ian James WALSH - 21/06/2017
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Ian James WALSH
Hearing: 21 June 2017
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
- Mr D Hauraki
- Ms G Hughes
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Ian James Walsh makes his first appearance before the Board on an effective sentence of two years six months’ imprisonment for travelling to meet a young person for the purpose of grooming, indecent communication with a person under 16 and possession of objectionable material. He became eligible for parole on 9 June 2017 and he has a statutory release date of 7 December 2018.
- Mr Walsh has an offending history extending back to 1972 though he has accumulated only 27 convictions since then leading to a RoC*RoI of .18483. A feature of his history is the number of violent offences and, more particularly, the number of offences of violence towards women. He has also a conviction, some 17 years ago, for abduction for the purposes of sex.
- Mr Walsh was shown, in the parole assessment report, as being waitlisted to attend the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme though reference is made to his lack of motivation.
- Counsel, [withheld], appeared for Mr Walsh and helpfully made written submissions in advance of the hearing in support of Mr Walsh’s release on parole. The submissions referred to Mr Walsh proposing to live with [withheld] upon release. Counsel described Mr Walsh as self-contained and someone who can cease offending when he put his mind to it. He pointed to his past achievement in support of that submission. Counsel submitted that, rather than leave Mr Walsh to “do his time,” it would be of assistance to him and the community to have him released to [withheld]. He acknowledged that Mr Walsh would benefit from psychological counselling. He emphasised, however, that Mr Walsh was of the view that he could modify his own behaviour.
- In the course of discussing progress with Mr Walsh conceded to the Board that if he were given the opportunity to attend the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme, he would take it. He was ashamed of what he did. He remains unsure of why he did it, and claimed it was “out of character”.
- We note counsel’s submission, which is supported in the documentation, that Mr Walsh is something of a “loner”. He does not mix well in groups.
- The Board has been assisted by a psychological report prepared by [withheld] which concludes with the recommendation that the preferred pathway for Mr Walsh is to attend the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme, although there appeared to be a lack of motivation on his part. The report also indicates Mr Walsh was uninterested in working with a psychologist to develop a risk management plan.
- The Board notes the recommendation that Mr Walsh attend the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme. Whilst he declared a lack of motivation to his Case Manager and it seems, to the psychologist, probably based on his preference to do things on his own, the Board is in no doubt that completion of that programme is necessary before it could be satisfied that he would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community. Until he develops an understanding of what brought him to offend in the way he did, having regard to his previous history of violence towards women and his conviction for abduction for sex, his risk can only be described at this point as undue.
- Parole is declined. Mr Walsh will be scheduled to return to the Board in 12 months, by 30 June 2018. Should he successfully complete the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme before then, he is at liberty to apply to be considered for an earlier hearing pursuant to section 26 of the Parole Act.
Mr N Trendle