Akeel Hassan Abbas AL BAIIATY - 29/04/2019
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Akeel Hassan Abbas AL BAIIATY
Hearing: 29 April 2019
at Rimutaka Prison
via AVL from Spring Hill Corrections Facility
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
- Ms F Pimm
- Dr J Skipworth
- Ms J Fyfe
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Mr Al Baiiaty is serving a sentence of preventive detention imposed on 11 March 2005 following his conviction for the rape of a woman over the age of 16 who was living at the same student hostel where Mr Al Baiiaty was residing. That offending occurred shortly after his release from prison following a nine-year sentence for raping another woman over the age of 16. Since then Mr Al Baiiaty has completed rehabilitation activities and a safety plan.
- Mr Al Baiiaty is now subject to a deportation order. If released on parole he will be immediately deported to Iraq, which is his country of origin. Most of his family appears to be living there still. He has a brother in Australia who has visited from time to time, but his family home is presently occupied by his sister and upon his return to Iraq he is proposing to live with her.
- Prior to the hearing the Board received written submissions from his counsel, Ms Fyfe, in support of Mr Al Baiiaty’s release on parole and return to Iraq. Mr Kilbride appeared at the hearing on instructions from Ms Fyfe and made supplementary submissions in support of his release on parole. Both the written and oral submissions emphasise the completion of rehabilitation activities. Mr Al Baiiaty presented his safety plan at a meeting with his brother who was present via speakerphone from Australia. We were told that his brother has since conveyed that plan to family members in Iraq.
- Mr Al Baiiaty told us that upon his return to Iraq he will be living with his sister, but as soon as practicable he wishes to marry his fiancée there. He would then hope to move into his own house. In addition to the support of his family, he has work in the family clothing business. His family has arranged for further counselling with a psychologist in Iraq and he also has support through the mosque.
- The Board accepts that Mr Al Baiiaty has completed the rehabilitation phase of his sentence, and that the reintegration activity available to him is limited, given his deportee status. He has completed a safety plan and his release proposal appears sound. What is missing from his release plan is a reintegration meeting with his support network in Iraq where he will present his safety plan, outline his risks and the plans that he has to keep himself and the community, particularly women, safe.
- We emphasise the importance of that step as the Board is required to have regard not only for the safety of the community in New Zealand, but also the safety of the community in Iraq. It is common, in the case of offenders released in New Zealand for a reintegration meeting including professional support, such as a probation officer, to be held prior to release. This is a vital step in Mr Al Baiiaty’s case as it will be only his family who can provide him with support and supervision. He will not be subject to the Board’s release conditions, nor will he have the support and supervision of a probation officer who is fully aware of his offending.
- Put shortly, we are not satisfied as to the safety of the community in Iraq, or women Mr Al Baiiaty may have come into contact there, in the absence of a fully formed support network who will be familiar with his activities when he returns to the community. It is essential that they are fully informed and able to manage his risk in a different environment albeit that risk is presently assessed as a high risk of sexually re‑offending.
- Despite the strong submissions made on his behalf by counsel, and Mr Al Baiiaty’s impassioned declaration that he has changed, the Board could not meet its statutory obligation until we are satisfied that his support network in Iraq is properly informed.
- Parole is accordingly declined. Mr Al Baiiaty will be scheduled to return to be seen again in five months, by 23 August 2019.
- We understand that in that time the Consul present in Australia will be interviewing Mr Al Baiiaty, so far as his Iraq immigration documentation is concerned, and that is unlikely to be available much before the scheduled next appearance date.
- How the reintegration meeting we have referred to takes place, whether personally, by audio visual link or by telephone we leave to the prison. We see it as essential that an interpreter is available so that the Board can be assured that his support network is fully aware of Mr Al Baiiaty’s risks and his plan to deal with them when he returns. It will then be for the Board to be satisfied whether his support in Iraq is sufficiently informed and his risk mitigated to the extent that he can be released on parole.
- We add that had this meeting taken place and the Board was satisfied today that he had a properly informed support network to return to, we are likely to have been inclined to direct his release as submitted by counsel.
Mr N Trendle