Dionne Liza NEALE - 09/08/2018
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Dionne Liza NEALE
Hearing: 9 August 2018
at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor)
- Dr J Skipworth
- Ms G Hughes
- Mr L Comer
- Mr R Chambers
- Mr T Graham – NZPB
- Mr T Livingston – Stuff
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Dionne Liza Neale was sentenced to life imprisonment on 12 June 2009 for the murder of her then‑partner. She was sentenced to serve a minimum period of imprisonment of 10 years. She became eligible for parole on 26 July 2018. This is her first appearance before the Board.
- Her sentence was Ms Neale’s first term of imprisonment and her first recorded offending. She has a RoC*RoI of 0.21619 and is a minimum security prisoner.
- To date on this sentence, Ms Neale has completed the Kowhiritanga Programme and the follow-up maintenance. She has also completed a number of other educational and personal development programmes, including Living Skills, NCEA level 2 and an apiculture course. She has been in the Self Care Unit for the last two years and was recently approved to work in the [withheld] cafe, having worked previously in the kitchen. There are positive reports of her work ethic. Her Principal Corrections Officer (PCO), who accompanied her to the Board, reported positively on her conduct and compliance. She gets on well with others in the unit and her PCO reported she has gained significantly in confidence since she first came to prison.
- Prior to the hearing, the Board received written submissions from the members of her victim’s family. There was also a meeting with members of the family. The impact of Ms Neale’s offending on the family was referred to. They were concerned for the safety of others in the community due to the violence of her offending. They were also concerned that she had not engaged sufficiently in rehabilitation. They wished to have no contact with her, or, for Ms Neale to be permitted to enter the Papakura, Whitianga, Katikati and Taranaki areas if she were released from prison.
- In response to the matters raised by her victims, Ms Neale said that she understood their concerns and she was deeply sorry for what she did. She said that she had loved her victim. She told us that she would respect the victims’ wishes with respect to the areas they did not wish her to enter upon her release from prison.
- Mr Chambers appeared as counsel and made submissions in support of Ms Neale’s release on parole. He emphasised Ms Neale’s remorse for her crime as she said in response to her victim’s concerns. She daily reflected on what she did as she had loved her victim. He emphasised the rehabilitation activities completed by Ms Neale and the strength of her release plan. She had been assessed by a psychologist as posing a low risk of re-offending. She had been active in the Self Care Unit for an extended period.
- Upon release, Ms Neale is proposing to live in church-supported accommodation. She has solid support from members of her family who attended the hearing today and those associated with the church whom she has met. She has no specific proposal with respect to employment when she is released, although she has skills as a hairdresser.
- The Board discussed with Ms Neale the issues that lay in the background to her offending and how she has confronted and dealt with those subsequently. She has developed a safety plan and plans for how she will cope when she returns to the community.
- The Board took time to reflect on the progress made by Ms Neale since her offending and the support available to her in the community. We have regard to the seriousness of her offending, which is an important factor in our assessment of her risk when she returns to the community. Unless we can be satisfied that her release would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community, the Board is unable to direct her release on parole.
- After considering the factors referred to above, we have concluded that her risk to the safety of the community can be managed by way of parole conditions. Accordingly, we direct her release on parole on [withheld] September 2018. Thereafter, Ms Neale will be subject to standard conditions for life and the special conditions set out below for a period of five years. One of the special conditions requires Ms Neale to attend a monitoring hearing if directed by her probation officer.
- For that purpose, the Board requests a report from her probation officer in six months on Ms Neale’s compliance with her release conditions and generally as to her progress on parole. If after reviewing that report the Board is of the view that Ms Neale should personally attend the hearing, she will receive the appropriate direction. We impose that condition having regard to the seriousness of Ms Neale’s offending and the need for the Board to ensure that the special conditions of her release are appropriate and feasible.
- We have directed Ms Neale’s release [withheld] to enable her to participate in a reintegration hui, which should be attended by her support network. By that, we include members of her family and those who will be supporting her in the supported accommodation together with anyone else her case manager thinks appropriate.
- At that hearing we expect Ms Neale to outline to her support network, among other things, her high risk situations, her early warning signs and her strategies for coping with both. We invite her case manager to facilitate such a meeting which will no doubt include her probation officer.
- Release accordingly. Special conditions as follows:
(1) To attend and complete the Kowhiritanga maintenance programme to the satisfaction of a Probation Officer.
(2) Undertake and complete any counselling (including relationship counselling), programme, treatment or intervention as directed by a Probation Officer to the satisfaction of a Probation Officer.
(3) If directed, to attend a psychological assessment and attend and complete any treatment or programme recommended by the assessment to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer.
(4) To reside at an address approved by a Probation Officer and not move from that address without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(5) To obtain the written approval of a Probation Officer before starting or changing your position or place of employment (including voluntary and unpaid work).
(6) Not to have contact or otherwise associate with the victims of your offending, directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(7) Not to enter the Papakura, Whitianga, Katikati and Taranaki areas, as defined by a Probation Officer in writing unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(8) Not to engage in the sex industry in any way, directly or indirectly.
(9) To comply with any direction made under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002 to attend a monitoring hearing at a time and place to be notified to you.
Mr N Trendle