Rakesh CHAWDHRY - 17/06/2019

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

Rakesh Kumar CHAWDHRY

Hearing: 17 June 2019

at Rolleston Prison

Members of the Board:

  • Judge A Neil MacLean (Panel Convenor)
  • Ms F Pimm
  • Mr G Crowley


  • Ms F Guy-Kidd QC

Support Persons:

  • [withheld]
  • [withheld]
  • [withheld]


  1. Rakesh Kumar Chawdhry is before the Board for the first time on a sentence of four years four months for sexual offending against patients in his capacity as a doctor.  It is his first criminal offence and first time in prison.
  2. His sentence commenced on 21 February 2018.  His parole eligibility date is 28 June 2019.  His statutory release date is 16 May 2022.
  3. His security classification is minimum and his RoC*Rol .084.
  4. He had defended the charges on which he was found guilty but when further charges emerged he immediately pleaded guilty to those.
  5. The Judge’s sentencing notes made specific reference to the Parole Board noting that it would want to see a significant shift in his thinking.  Reparation was ordered and we are told has been paid to each complainant.
  6. Mr Chawdhry had been a medical practitioner in Riccarton and indeed had carried out some work as a prison doctor in Christchurch Men’s.  That meant that he was initially transferred to Otago Correctional Facility which created further difficulties for him in terms of family contact particularly that he has [withheld].
  7. He was supported today by a psychologist [withheld] who has been working with him and has provided some useful material to the Board.  Also by [withheld].
  8. Ms Kidd QC had filed extremely helpful written submissions prior to the hearing and spoke briefly further to them at the hearing.
  9. It is encouraging to see that the expectations of the sentencing Judge have been fulfilled.
  10. It is clear that there has been a significant change in his thinking.
  11. He appears to have come to a realisation that in the circumstances of the doctor-patient power imbalance and his own self-image that he had put himself in a situation where he now accepts he had caused immense harm to his victims.
  12. He spoke quite convincingly about what an eye-opener it had been for him to be put in the reverse situation as a prisoner with pressure being brought to bear on him in a situation where he was not able to really defend himself.
  13. Ms Kidd advised that he is facing a disciplinary hearing before the medical authorities shortly and will lose his practising certificate.  He told us he has no intention of ever practising medicine again and at age 63 envisages a retirement life now supporting his family including [withheld].
  14. He has plans to keep his mind busy.
  15. The Principal Corrections Officer confirmed there are no behavioural issues at all and he is in a trusted position as a cleaner.  Staff reports are excellent.
  16. Mr Chawdhry had also written a very thoughtful letter and although he maintains that there was no sexual motivation to what he did he clearly does now accept the wrongness of what he did and the position that he put his victims in.
  17. The Board is satisfied that in the circumstances with the proposed release conditions he no longer poses an undue risk.
  18. We propose to release him.
  19. We have a memorandum from the case manager which notes that no probation officer has yet been assigned.  It is seen as critical that there be a reintegration meeting involving the probation officer prior to release.
  20. The situation however will be considerably facilitated by the fact that a reintegration meeting without the probation officer but with all the other key players including his psychologist, case manager and family is to take place today following this hearing.
  21. He will be released in accordance with the request from the case manager on 15 July, to enable time for a further reintegrative hui involving the probation officer to take place.
  22. We see no need for the proposed electronic monitoring nor a need for a monitoring provision.
  23. He will be released on parole on 15 July [2019] on the standard and following special conditions to run until his statutory release date of 16 May 2022:

    (1) To obtain the written approval of a Probation Officer before starting or changing your position and/or place of employment (including voluntary and unpaid work). To notify a Probation Officer if you leave your position of employment.

    (2) To reside at [withheld] and not move from that address unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

    (3) Not to have contact or otherwise associate, with any victim of your offending, [including previous offending] directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

Judge A Neil MacLean
Panel Convenor