Wallace TE AHURU - 06/11/2019
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Wallace Tamamotu TE AHURU
Hearing: 6 November 2019
at Northland Region Corrections Facility via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board:
- Mr J Thomson – Panel Convenor
- Mr G Crowley
- Dr S Davis
- Ms D Beazley (Acting Principal Case Manager)
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Wallace Tamamotu Te Ahuru is aged 31 and has made his first appearance before the Board for the consideration of release on parole. Mr Te Ahuru is serving a sentence of three years eight months’ imprisonment with a sentence commencement date of 22 February 2019. The parole eligibility date is later this month on 24 November 2019. The statutory release date is 3 May 2022.
- The sentence was imposed for seven counts of using a forged document and two counts of obtaining by deception. The total amount obtained by Mr Te Ahuru in this offending was in excess of $1.2 million. Mr Te Ahuru manipulated his employer’s accounting system to cause the loss.
- Mr Te Ahuru had been employed as the corporate services manager by the Waitangi National Trust and subsequently Waitangi Limited for five years between 2012 and 2017. The charges against him related to 43 payments made into his personal bank accounts between June 2016 and September 2017. Although Mr Te Ahuru entered pleas of guilty, a disputed facts hearing was held.
- At sentencing it was said that the money was spent on a variety of things including business class travel to Asia, luxury clothing, accessories and vehicles. There was no prospect of reparation and it was not ordered by the court.
- At today’s hearing Mr Te Ahuru was asked about his offending. He indicated that he had returned from Australia to present himself to authorities. He stated that he was under stress at the time he committed the offences.
- Mr Te Ahuru has a RoC*RoI of 0.227. There are no previous convictions on his list. He has a low security classification and is described as polite and compliant.
- Mr Te Ahuru grew up in Australia in a devout Christian family. He disclosed to his parents his sexual orientation approximately two years before the offending. His father accepted it, but his mother did not, leading to an estrangement. This caused a great deal of stress which Mr Te Ahuru says contributed to the offending.
- The Board has a letter from Mr Te Ahuru dated 29 September 2019. He tells us that he co-operated fully with the Serious Fraud Office. He also attaches a safety plan. In addition, there are letters of support from family members, including one from his grandmother with whom he intends to live on release.
- Earlier this year Mr Te Ahuru was assessed for participation in the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme (MIRP). He was declined because the Department of Corrections assessed him to be at low risk. The Short Motivational Programme was recommended to assess whether he had sufficient rehabilitative needs to go on to undertake the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme or similar.
- More recently Mr Te Ahuru has undertaken and completed the Short Motivational Programme. Ms Beazley, case manager, attended the hearing today and told us that now Mr Te Ahuru has completed the Short Motivational Programme there is to be a further assessment in approximately two weeks time as to whether Mr Te Ahuru should undertake the MIRP.
- Mr Te Ahuru proposes to live with [withheld] on release. This is seen as a suitable option by the probation officer. Mr Te Ahuru does not have any confirmed employment on release but intends to study at [withheld].
- The Board accepts that Mr Te Ahuru has a relatively low RoC*RoI score and does not have any previous convictions. However, we are concerned that Mr Te Ahuru has only completed very brief rehabilitative intervention while in prison and that he may be offered more intensive work while still in custody. It is important that he undertakes this work. We take into account the comments made at sentencing that Mr Te Ahuru committed these offences with a high degree of premeditation and over a period of 15 months. For the present we are not satisfied that Mr Te Ahuru no longer poses an undue risk to the safety of the community and parole is declined.
- Mr Te Ahuru will be scheduled to be seen again by the Board in February next year and no later than 29 February 2020. It is hoped that by that time Mr Te Ahuru will have been further assessed for suitability for treatment intervention in prison and will have completed that intervention.
- When given a summary of the decision today Mr Te Ahuru mentioned that he would find it difficult to undertake a group programme as this would require him to disclose his sexual orientation and also he had concerns that the organisation for which he worked might be seen as a Māori organisation. He felt that these things would place him at risk.
Mr J Thomson