Nika ABRAHAM - 07/02/2019
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 7 February 2019
at Spring Hill Corrections Facility
via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
- Sir Ron Young
- Mr D Hauraki
- Judge G Ellis
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Nika Abraham is serving a life sentence for the murder of Kate Alkema following a trial in 2003. He was sentenced to serve a minimum period of imprisonment of 13 years.
- When he last appeared before the Board, Mr Abraham was participating in psychological treatment. He completed the Mauri Tu Pae Programme in 2015 and had briefly engaged with the psychologist when he was seen by the Board. He continued that work and completed 12 sessions with the psychologist in July 2017.
- Thereafter he began a process of reintegration. He is presently in Whare Oranga Ake and working on the external grounds team at Spring Hill Corrections Facility. There are positive file notes with respect to his work ethic. He has also managed to gain qualifications in horticulture and apiculture. A report from the kaiarahi at Te Whare Oranga Ake is a positive one. Mr Abraham participates in the kaupapa of the unit and in particular in kapa haka. He is a co-operative member of the community and engages in shopping. He has participated in a brief visit to his proposed release address which is with [withheld]. She attended the hearing today in his support along with [withheld].
- Prior to the hearing the Board met with the victim’s [withheld relative]. He remained concerned at the absence of any explanation as to why Mr Abraham offended in the way he did. He said that it seemed to him there was a sexual motivation for the offending due to Mr Abraham re-arranging his victim’s clothing in the way he did.
- In the course of the hearing the Board explored with Mr Abraham following his comment that he had been working on understanding the causes of his offending. He put it down to the hate that had been building in him with respect to [withheld] and the way he was treated growing up. He said was very sorry for taking that anger out on someone else. At the time he said he was running away from home. He was angry and simply took that anger out on his victim. That explanation changed in the course of the hearing but he maintained there was no sexual interest or motivation behind his offending.
- Mr Abraham has been making positive steps down a reintegration pathway. He has for the last four months been at Te Whare Oranga Ake and progressing well with reintegration activities. The psychological report with the Board today concludes with the recommendations that he works to strengthen his release plan and reintegration pathway with his case manager and that he would benefit from participating in release to work and further guided release opportunities.
- While we note those recommendations, the Board is deeply concerned after discussing the circumstances around his offending that the full reasons why he offended in the way he did have yet to be completely explored and understood. We do not find Mr Abraham’s explanation that it was simply an expression of anger following rejection by [withheld] as plausible in the circumstances. Mr Abraham himself was in the finish quite unable to explain why he re-arranged his victim’s clothing, despite an obvious inference. Until that issue is more clearly understood, the Board could not be satisfied that Mr Abraham’s offending needs have been adequately addressed. Nor could we be satisfied that his release would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community.
- Parole today is declined. We are of the firm view that further work with the psychologist is required to more thoroughly investigate the apparent sexual dimension of Mr Abraham’s offending. We leave it to the prison to determine progress so far as reintegration activities are concerned.
- Mr Abraham will be scheduled to be seen by the Board in 12 months, by 28 February 2020.
Mr N Trendle