Michael Paul ZIMMERMAN - 26/02/2018
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Michael Paul ZIMMERMAN
Hearing: 26 February 2018
at Whanganui Prison
Members of the Board:
- Ms M Coleman – Panel Convenor
- Ms G Hughes
- Mr M Quigg
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Michael Paul Zimmerman, who is aged 34, appeared before the Board today for further consideration of parole on a seven year sentence for manslaughter and obstructing the course of justice.
- Mr Zimmerman’s statutory release date is 27 November 2020.
- Mr Zimmerman last saw the Board in August 2017. The Board noted that he had participated in a reintegration hui and had been approved for Release to Work. The Board also noted the concern raised by the victims that Mr Zimmerman had not done a violence programme. The Board recorded that Mr Zimmerman agreed to abide by the areas in which the victim’s family identified they did not want him to enter, being Hawkes Bay, Taupo, Manawatu and Horowhenua north of Otaki.
- The last Board did not support an override for Mr Zimmerman to be able to undertake the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme (MIRP). While the decisions were not spelt out, this is likely to be because of Mr Zimmerman’s low RoC*RoI of 0.20349. The Board asked for a strengthening of the release proposal and for him to be tested in less secure environments. Guided releases and home leaves were also requested.
- The situation today is that Mr Zimmerman has been employed by [withheld] on Release to Work. He is extremely highly thought of by his employer, which was confirmed today in a letter from [withheld] to the Board. In all his dealings with customers and his workmates, Mr Zimmerman is said to be maintaining a high standard. He is residing in outer self-care and reports there are good also.
- The Board met with the family of the victim today. The family opposes his release on parole. A key reason for this was that of all the three co-offenders he least accepts responsibility for his offending. Evidence given to support this view was that the other offenders had turned themselves in whereas Mr Zimmerman had not, he applied for bail when the others did not, and that he appealed his sentence when the others did not. The family also said it was their understanding that Mr Zimmerman offended while on bail.
- The Board discussed the issue of responsibility with Mr Zimmerman today. He told the Board that he is remorseful for his offending. He said that he has put his name forward to engage in restorative justice, but understands why the family do not want to meet with him. He further said that he is not able to send them a letter or speak with them, other than through that process to tell them how sorry he is. He understands that they are angry and why they are angry.
- Mr Zimmerman said that he has taken responsibility for the offending by pleading guilty to manslaughter. He further told the Board that he has never said that he did not play a major part in the offending. He accepts that he had such a role and that he put his hand up to it. He also said that like the other offenders he turned himself in and was remanded for seven months in prison before he was advised by his lawyer that the Court had granted him bail. This was on the condition that he reside in Christchurch. That the address was visited by police at one point and, following him admitting that he had consumed a small amount of alcohol on one occasion, he was remanded for a further two days to Christchurch Men’s Prison before being bailed again.
- Custodial-wise, the report from the prison is an excellent one. The PCO who attended the hearing today described Mr Zimmerman as a “role model” – he had nothing bad to say about him. In terms of rehabilitation, Mr Zimmerman has completed a Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) Programme. His plan in the future is that he is going to abstain from alcohol. He told the Board that every time he has offended it has been while he has been intoxicated.
- Mr Zimmerman impressed the Board with the open way in which he answered the questions the Board put to him around the victim’s concerns. In our view, Mr Zimmerman would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community were he to be released on parole. This takes into account the special conditions that we intend to impose on release.
- The Board is mindful of the victim concerns about where Mr Zimmerman is to be released to. The family wanted to the exclusion areas to extend to Whitby and to Paraparaumu where we were advised one of the victim’s family may shortly be taking up residence. Release planning has been undertaken by Mr Zimmerman on the basis of the “no-go” areas earlier advised. In the Board’s view, that release planning can be balanced with the imposition of GPS monitoring that will be capable of accommodating victim issues on a more micro level within the Kapiti area should that prove necessary.
- Mr Zimmerman will be released on [withheld] March 2018. He will be subject to standard and special conditions until his statutory release date.
- One of those conditions will be that he is to abstain from the possession or consumption of drugs and alcohol. Mr Zimmerman understands that his compliance with that condition can be tested whilst in the community.
- In light of the length of time left to run on the sentence, and in light of victim issues which have at this point necessitated the imposition of GPS monitoring, the Board will monitor Mr Zimmerman’s progress on parole. There will be a face-to-face hearing with Mr Zimmerman in October 2018.
- The special conditions are as follows:
(1) To attend for a psychological assessment and attend and complete any treatment or counselling as recommended by the assessment, to the satisfaction of a Probation Officer.
(2) To attend and complete an appropriate alcohol and drug intervention or relapse prevention work to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and programme provider. Details of the appropriate programme to be determined by your Probation Officer.
(3) To reside at [withheld] and not to move from that address without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(4) Not to enter the Horowhenua north of Otaki, Manawatu, Whanganui, Hawkes Bay or Taupo areas, or the suburb of Whitby in Porirua, unless you have the prior written approval of the Probation Officer.
(5) Not to enter particular streets in Paraparaumu if advised to you by your Probation Officer, unless you have the prior written approval of your Probation Officer.
(6) Not to have contact or otherwise associate with any victim of your offending, directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written consent of your Probation Officer.
(7) Not to communicate or associate with Brayden Windley or Stoyan Militch, unless you have the prior written consent of your Probation Officer.
(8) Not to possess or consume alcohol or use a controlled drug or psychoactive substance.
(9) To comply with any direction made under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002 to attend a hearing at a time and place to be notified to you, to enable the Parole Board to monitor your compliance with your release conditions.
(10) Upon release from prison, to travel directly to [withheld] and await the arrival of a Probation Officer and a representative of the monitoring company.
(11) To submit to electronic monitoring in the form of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with any conditions relating to your whereabouts and, when issued a cell phone device by the Department, to carry and keep it charged and turned on at all times and to answer it for the purpose of communications with the Probation Officer.
(12) To comply with the requirements of electronic monitoring, and provide access to the approved residence to a Probation Officer and representatives of the monitoring company for the purpose of maintaining the electronic monitoring equipment as directed by the Probation Officer.
Ms M Coleman