Scott MILLAR - 14/06/2019
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Scott David MILLAR
Hearing: 14 June 2019
at Otago Corrections Facility
Members of the Board:
- Judge A N MacLean – Panel Convenor
- Mr A Hackney
- Dr S Davis
- Ms F Guy Kidd QC
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Scott David Millar is before the Board for the first time on a sentence of three years 10 months for manslaughter and reckless driving causing injury. He was represented today by Fiona Kidd QC.
- The circumstances of the offending were that a group of young men including Mr Millar, Mr Sharma and a Mr Crawley were at a party. It seems there was a considerable amount of alcohol consumed. Mr Millar’s blood alcohol reading was high and the sentencing judge noted it was about three times the adult driver limit.
- Mr Sharma died at the scene of the crash and Mr Crawley was injured. Mr Millar himself suffered head injuries. He has had a number of assessments done. Subsequently, it appears that he has substantially recovered from the head injuries. He tells us, however, that it is his third traumatic brain injury. The first was received, he tells us, in a [withheld] accident. The second was in [withheld] in November 2016 which to some extent mirrors the index offending although the consequences fortunately were much less severe. Mr Millar has little recollection of the earlier 2016 incident for which he received diversion and says that he has little recollection now of the incidents on the night in question for the index offending.
- He had pleaded guilty to the charges and paid $20,000 reparation to the family.
- Mr Millar’s sentence of three years 10 months is, we are told by his counsel today, still the subject of an appeal in the Court of Appeal against the length of sentence. Counsel anticipates a decision reasonably soon. The thrust of her submissions on that had been to urge for a reduction of the length of the sentence by some further months on the basis that inadequate consideration was given by the sentencing judge to youth and remorse.
- Mr Millar’s RoC*RoI is 0.45531 and his current security classification low/medium. His sentence commenced on 9 April 2018 and he became eligible for parole on the 3rd of this month. His statutory release date is 22 December 2021.
- He completed the Short Rehabilitation Programme (SRP) in August 2018 but there will still be some follow up maintenance required for that at some stage. He has just commenced the Drug Treatment Programme (DTP) and he spoke to us briefly about the first few days. He is in a group of 11 others, some around his age but as the Principal Corrections Officer (PCO) noted, a cross-section of the male community all with a common factor of issues around alcohol and drugs.
- Counsel’s written submissions that she spoke further to today emphasise the degree of support available to Mr Millar if he is released. This includes that his [withheld] or his [withheld] can provide accommodation for him. He has a firm employment offer.
- The submission is that the DTP does not need to be completed in prison and the issues can be appropriately dealt with in the community.
- The Board had met with the parents of Mr Sharma, who died in the crash, earlier in the day. [withheld].
- They, in particular, were concerned about return to Alexandra [withheld]. We have to have due regard to their views.
- They also talked about their feeling that they had been shut out from contact with Mr Millar’s family and were upset that an invitation to attend a service for their son was not taken up by Mr Millar’s family.
- Ms Kidd submitted that there is another side to that in that, pointing out, Mr Millar was on a bail condition not to contact the family, and that Mr Millar’s family did try to explore the prospects for restorative justice and still stand by that offer. Ms Kidd said that Mr Millar accepts that it is the deceased’s family right not to be involved but that the offer still stands.
- Where the actual position lies is not a matter that there is much point in pursuing further. It simply reflects the understandable agonising effects on two families through one night’s stupidity.
- The behaviour of Mr Millar in prison has been largely satisfactory, although there was an incident in which he participated in [withheld] whilst in prison. He said that he did not want to feel excluded when [withheld].
- He is now IDU free but there is some background to that which is outlined in counsel’s submissions and spoken to further today. It is common ground now that his move into IDU 2 was a mistake. He has subsequently passed two negative tests.
- In support of parole, there is the fact that there is a substantial degree of pro-social support for Mr Millar. There is also the fact that he is a young man and that he understandably struggles in the prison environment. Counsel mentioned that he had been assaulted last year.
- When we asked Mr Millar why he thought he did not need to complete the DTP, he noted that he felt that the SRP had given him “a fair idea” of the effect of drugs and alcohol and that he has learnt the lesson from that.
- In our view, however, the background circumstances including the circumstances of the earlier crash, the [withheld] incident and the fact that he is fortunate to be able to commence the DTP at a relatively early stage suggests to us that advantage should be taken of that.
- There are fundamental underlying alcohol abuse issues that need to be got to grips with that would not have been covered simply by participating in the SRP, and warrant the intensive treatment provided by the DTP.
- We appreciate that the prison environment is not ideal for him and aware of the desirability of a prison term being no longer than necessary to protect the community.
- In our view, the risk to the community would be undue if he was released now. He has a serious underlying issue that must be dealt with in his medium and longer term interests and in the interests of the community. Two incidents of alcohol affected driving in such a short time together with the [withheld] incident indicate in our view serious underlying issues that require the concentrated focus of the DTP.
- Parole is accordingly declined and we will see him again in November 2019 before the end of that month.
Judge A N MacLean