Jan ANTOLIK - 12/3/2018
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 12 March 2018
at Auckland South Corrections Facility
Members of the Board:
- Ms K Snook – Panel Convenor
- Ms M More
- Ms G Hughes
- Mr L Herbke
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Jan Antolik, 37, appeared for the first consideration of parole on a sentence of five years nine months’ imprisonment for the importation of five kilograms of ecstasy in September 2014. Mr Antolik was convicted by a jury and the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal on 8 December 2017.
- Mr Antolik’s sentence commenced on 3 June 2016, he has a parole eligibility date of 9 March 2018, and a sentence expiry date of 1 January 2022. He has a RoC*RoI of 0.141 and is on a minimum prison security classification.
- The circumstances of the offending are set out in some detail in the Court of Appeal decision.
- In short Mr Antolik was found guilty of being knowingly involved in the importation of ecstasy into New Zealand using his business which was involved in the importation of beverages. The shipment was sent from the Czech Republic and, on the evidence as accepted by the jury, Mr Antolik’s mother appears to have been involved in aspects of the arrangement. The evidence indicates that the ecstasy is likely to have been introduced in Europe and was found in packets of juice imported by Mr Antolik’s company.
- At trial Mr Antolik denied the offending. At trial and during his appeal there were two scenarios whereby Mr Antolik said that people may have wanted to frame him for the offending to obtain retribution. Those scenarios are clearly set out in the Court of Appeal decision.
- Mr Herbke appeared today for Mr Antolik. He filed written submissions in advance of the hearing. Mr Antolik was seeking a release on parole.
- In support of that submission Mr Herbke referred to the fact that Mr Antolik is assessed as being at low risk of re-offending. Mr Herbke said that Mr Antolik now acknowledges the offending and is aware of the harm that drugs cause in the community. Mr Herbke’s submission was that given this new awareness, as well as Mr Antolik’s strong support in the community, he would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community if released on parole.
- Mr Herbke acknowledged that the offending was serious and that Mr Antolik had cognitive distortions at the time of the offending which are referred to in the report of the psychologist [withheld] dated 13 February 2018.
- In support of a release on parole Mr Herbke refers to the release proposal involving Mr Antolik’s proposed release to live with [withheld]. The submissions refer to a number of employment opportunities being available to Mr Antolik on release. Two offers of employment are attached to Mr Herbke’s submissions. Mr Antolik told the Board that he does not plan on being involved in his company again although he would remain as a shareholder. His wife continues to run that business in his absence.
- Mr Herbke told the Board that Mr Antolik now realises that he tried to deal with his financial problems himself and did not turn to his friends. Despite this he continues to have significant support and that was evident at the hearing today.
- We had a reasonably lengthy hearing with Mr Antolik. We note from the parole assessment report that his conduct is seen as acceptable. He was regressed from the self-care residences in September 2017 because unauthorised items (namely a phone, a cable, other property and medication) were found in the communal area of the Residence. The officer, [withheld], said that it appears that Mr Antolik was not involved in that incident. Mr Antolik is now back residing in the residences as of 12 January 2018.
- There are issues with entitlement also referred to in the parole assessment report. However we also note Mr Herbke’s submissions on these comments and that in any event Mr Antolik’s attitude is described as having shown a marked improvement in recent file notes.
- At this time, no rehabilitation programmes are on Mr Antolik’s sentence plan because it has been determined that he does not meet the criteria for any departmental programmes.
- We talked to Mr Antolik about what he now accepts about the offending. He said that he now acknowledges he did know that the drugs were being imported. He said that he was in contact with an associate back in the Czech Republic. He told that associate that he needed easy money and the associate arranged for the drugs to be hidden in the shipment being sent to Mr Antolik. However Mr Antolik still referred to the possibility that he may have been framed because he is still not sure how Customs knew that the drugs were hidden in the shipment.
- The Board had a Herald article dated 8 December 2017 which we made available to Mr Antolik in advance of the hearing. That article refers to other charges that Mr Antolik has faced during his time in New Zealand. We accept Mr Herbke’s submissions that we cannot take account of those matters as Mr Antolik has been acquitted of the charges or the charges have been dropped.
- However we are of the view that the fact that Mr Antolik has faced several serious charges since arriving in New Zealand in 2003 at the very least indicates ongoing poor judgement by Mr Antolik regarding his associates as well as poor decision making. Mr Antolik’s discussion with us today about what he knew about the background of his various associates and what led to the charges being laid did not allay our concerns.
- There is also reference in the Herald article and in the court decisions to the fact that the reason why Mr Antolik originally came to New Zealand on a false passport was his potential involvement in a murder investigation in the Czech Republic. We talked to Mr Antolik about the circumstances of that crime. He told us that he did not know that anything was going to happen that day. He did accept however that the people he was with on that day could be described as “antisocial”.
- Even Mr Antolik’s choice of flatmates seems to have created difficulties for him. He denied that the ecstasy that was found at his property as referred to in the Judge’s sentencing notes belonged to him. He said it belonged to a flatmate who lived with him and his wife at the time.
- At the very least Mr Antolik’s index offending has continued his pattern of choosing poor associates, including his contact in the Czech Republic who arranged the shipment, and poor decision making (importing drugs to alleviate financial difficulties).
- In terms of Mr Antolik’s financial position he said that the Crown had recovered around $250,000 by way of a settlement under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009. He said that came from his acceptance that if he did not repay the $250,000 (being the amount that he would have been paid if the shipment of the drugs had proceeded without issue) the Crown would have pursued his parents-in-law for at least some of the money. He said that he had received numerous cash payments, and given that there would be a presumption that they were tainted, he made the payment of $250,000. He had to sell his house to do so.
- For the record we had difficulty with Mr Antolik’s contention that the cash payments all related to money paid to him for personal kick boxing training. The decision of Lang J dated 5 October 2017 refers to Mr Antolik funding the purchase of an Eban Avenue home “largely by means of cash deposits”. He is then said to have funded the mortgage instalments by means of cash payments.
- We also talked to Mr Antolik about whether Immigration New Zealand had been in contact with him regarding the possibility of deportation. We raised this issue with him as in 2011 Mr Antolik was discharged without conviction despite having been found guilty of having a false passport and lying to Immigration officials. That was on the basis that Mr Antolik told the Court that he offended in this way to escape the Czech Republic for his own safety as a result of the murder he witnessed as referred to earlier in this decision. Mr Antolik was discharged without conviction at that time to ensure that he was not deported given ongoing concerns for his safety back in the Czech Republic.
- Mr Antolik said that he anticipates that a deportation order may be served in due course. He said that he will fight that on the basis that it is still his view that it would be contrary to his safety to return to the Czech Republic.
- Despite the positive features of Mr Antolik’s case as emphasised by Mr Herbke in his submissions and in person today, including the support available to him in the community, we are unable to be satisfied today that risk is anything other than undue. In reaching this view we have had regard, as we must, to sections 7 and 28 of the Parole Act 2002.
- We remain concerned that Mr Antolik’s acceptance of responsibility is very recent and still contains elements of minimisation and justification. At this time we only have his word that he is a changed man. We must assess Mr Antolik’s risk to community safety for the just under four years that remains on his sentence. Given the information before the Board we have concerns that Mr Antolik’s risk to the safety of the community over that period may have been underestimated. We note in that regard that some of the information we discussed with Mr Antolik was not known to (withheld) when she prepared her psychological assessment. We are concerned about Mr Antolik’s decision making and his ongoing involvement with antisocial people both in the Czech Republic and in New Zealand given the length of time left on his sentence.
- While not critical to our decision today we note for completeness that we also have some concerns about Mr Antolik’s release proposal. We are concerned that the issue of potential collusion by [withheld] must remain a live issue given the nature and purpose of the index offending.
- On the evidence before us we are not satisfied that risk is anything other than undue at this time. Parole is declined. We will schedule Mr Antolik to be seen again by a Board in September 2018 and no later than the end of that month.
- Before the next hearing we ask that Mr Antolik have a psychological assessment. He should be open and honest with the psychologist about his life in the Czech Republic and in New Zealand and about the people with whom he has associated.
- The psychologist should assess Mr Antolik’s safety plan and consider his release proposal and whether any treatment is required given the matters discussed in this decision today.
- For the next hearing we also ask for information from Immigration New Zealand in relation to Mr Antolik’s immigration status. Of course if deportation is on the cards a different release proposal would be required.
- We also ask for a copy of Mr Antolik’s overseas criminal conviction history for the next Board under the name Jan Antolik or Karel Sroubek.
Ms K Snook