Phillip John SMITH - 17/05/2019

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Phillip John SMITH

Hearing: 17 May 2019

at Rimutaka Prison

via AVL to New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington

Members of the Board:

  • Judge E Paul – Panel Convenor
  • Mr B McMurray
  • Ms W Taumaunu
  • Assoc Prof. P Brinded


  • Mr M Bott

Support Persons:

  • [withheld]
  • [withheld]


  1. Phillip Smith again appears for parole consideration on a life sentence for murder imposed back in 1996.  He is represented at this hearing by Mr Bott. He is supported by [withheld].
  2. The Board has the benefit of reviewing Mr Smith’s substantial file, the most recent psychological report dated 10 April 2019 and a number of submissions and documents filed by Mr Smith in anticipation of this hearing, the most recent being a letter from [withheld]. Mr Smith has also filed his own private psychological report from Dr [V] dated 24 April 2019 in advance of this hearing.  The Board and Mr Smith referred to that report and other reports that have been previously filed during the course of the hearing.
  3. The most recent Departmental psychological report recommends Mr Smith undertake the group-based treatment programme at a Specialist Treatment Unit for Child Sex Offenders and identifies him at medium/high risk of sexual offending and high risk of general or violent offending.  The report writer notes the 25 sessions of individual treatment since Mr Smith’s last risk assessment are not of sufficient intensity or length to alter the risk statement. The Board also has a report from 2015 by Dr [B], recording Mr Smith should undertake group-based programmes to address his violent offending behaviour.
  4. Mr Smith readily acknowledged, despite receiving individual treatment with a Departmental psychologist, he has yet to receive violence-focused treatment in a group-based setting. We discussed the reasons for that.  Out of that discussion it was apparent Mr Smith accepts he must undertake that treatment but from his perspective has been frustrated at not being given the opportunity.  The Board acknowledges the Department’s current stance that Mr Smith is not eligible to undertake the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme.
  5. This Board is guided by the professional’s advice and despite the position taken by Dr [V], accept further focused group-based treatment is required for Mr Smith.  It is for Corrections to now offer the treatment that has been recommended by the professionals.  Consistently, the advice is violence-based treatment, and we would invite Corrections to focus on that and provide that to Mr Smith.  Likewise, it is apparent from the most recent psychologist’s report that, despite completing the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme in the past, there have been insufficient gains by Mr Smith and he should be scheduled to undertake that programme again.
  6. Until such time as this rehabilitation treatment has been completed, Mr Smith continues to present an undue risk to the safety of the community, particularly given the ongoing assessments of the risks he presents and the versatility demonstrated of his most recent offending. This offending shows he has not been able to put the skills and learnings from treatment completed into practice.  In the Board’s view the risk he presents remains undue.
  7. Parole is formally declined today. We ask that Mr Smith be seen again in 12 months and not later than the end of May 2020.

Judge E Paul
Panel Convenor