Trent Owen Ngaruhe HAPUKU - 06/08/2018

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Trent Owen Ngaruhe HAPUKU

Hearing: 6 August 2018

at Tongariro Prison

via AVL to New Zealand Parole Board Office, Wellington

Members of the Board:

  • Alan Ritchie
  • Ms M More
  • Mr G Crowley

Support Persons:

  • [withheld]


  1. Trent Owen Ngaruhu Hapuku, 29, has appeared for the further consideration of parole on a sentence of nine years for the manslaughter, in 2011, of the five month old son of his then-partner.
  2. There is a limited criminal history and Mr Hapuku has not been in prison before.
  3. The prison security classification is minimum, the RoC*Rol 0.37363 and the sentence expiry date is 25 September 2020.
  4. On 5 December 2017 the Board heard that Mr Hapuku had completed some individual psychological intervention, but there had been a deterioration in demeanour and the Board observed that he seemed sad and unmotivated.
  5. At that stage he was working with [withheld] and was yet to engage in reintegrative activity especially working outside the wire and release to work.
  6. Since that last hearing, according to the parole assessment report, Mr Hapuku does talk to staff about how he feels positive for the future because of [withheld] and whanau support.
  7. On the other hand, says the parole assessment report, Mr Hapuku does not seem to be following through on his commitment to have a structured day.
  8. He has not achieved the goal of attaining a learner’s driver’s licence.  He failed to attend sessions to study the road code because he was more focussed on sleeping.  Mr Hapuku seemed to be more content, “chilling” in the unit rather than seeking employment.  Mr Hapuku had agreed with his case manager that he did not follow a healthy lifestyle, being awake most of the night and sleeping most of the day.  The report observes that on the surface it seems as though Mr Hapuku is waiting to get to a Self Care unit to make structured changes but fails to understand the need to display the motivation to benefit from that opportunity.
  9. Those observations drive us back to looking at the psychological treatment report of 23 January 2018.  The psychologist referred to previous psychological assessment report which covered Mr Hapuku’s exiting from the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme (MIRP) due to an unwillingness to fully disclose the index offence.  It noted that Mr Hapuku was inconsistent in taking responsibility for the offending and had not completed a safety plan.  In consequence, there was the recommendation for individual psychological treatment.
  10. The treating psychologist has advised that Mr Hapuku engaged in 22 treatment sessions and he continued to deny the index offending.  Mr Hapuku apparently showed that he was easily able to understand concepts, although he needed to work on the consistent application of relevant skills.  Most importantly he would need to maintain structure in his life to help him manage the risk of offending.
  11. The treating psychologist said that no further psychological treatment was recommended for Mr Hapuku while in prison although once released he may benefit from brief intervention with a psychologist to review his risk management if possible with his support people.
  12. The treating psychologist noted earlier assessment of moderate risk for further interpersonal violence.
  13. The treating psychologist made it clear that his report was confined to treatment, purpose, and outcome rather than a comprehensive reassessment of risk.  He said that further risk assessment by a psychologist not involved in the treatment may be appropriate.
  14. We agree with that recommendation and we are calling for a further psychological assessment report accordingly.  We will consider that at the next hearing which we are scheduling for July 2019.  However, we do urge that the assessment be undertaken just as soon as possible so that any recommendations can be got on with earlier.
  15. We are also urging that Mr Hapuku be assisted by his case manager or responsible officers to be seen by the medical team or, perhaps more importantly, the forensic team to discern whether there may be benefit in Mr Hapuku returning to some form of medication that might assist him settling upon a more structured lifestyle.  Mr Hapuku himself said that he would be willing to discuss that particular situation with any of the medical or forensic teams.  He had earlier chosen to stop taking medication.
  16. Looking at all of the information in front of us we are not in any position to be satisfied that risk is other than undue and we have no option but to decline parole.  It is to be hoped that when we see Mr Hapuku again there will have been further progress not only on the psychological or forensic front but also in relation to the release proposal which in our view needs to be carefully considered so that it involves whānau support, and does not result in isolation for Mr Hapuku.
  17. As noted, parole is declined and Mr Hapuku will be seen in July 2019.

Alan Ritchie
Panel Convenor