Benjamin Zachery BURGESS 9/9/2020

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Benjamin Zachery BURGESS

Hearing: 9 September 2020

at Otago Corrections Facility

by AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington

Members of the Board: Ms M More (Panel Convenor), Ms K Coutts, Mr C King

Counsel:   Mr N Rayner


  1. Benjamin Zachary Burgess is 30, he appears before the Parole Board on a sentence of four years seven months for seven charges of burglary, assault on a child, a domestic assault, unlawful taking and a breach of community work.  Mr Burgess burgled high end homes where he and his co-offender knew there would be expensive items, they took thousands of dollars of property.  The assault (withheld) was when the boy disturbed him and Mr Burgess hit out.
  2. Mr Burgess has a RoC*RoI of .5662, his statutory release date is 19 January 2023, he has two years and four months remaining on his sentence.
  3. Mr Burgess’ classification is low, he is noted as being compliant and polite and gets on well with others.  The PCO said he is doing very well in the unit, he is in self-care and working on the prison farm outside the wire.
  4. Mr Burgess was represented by counsel Mr Rayner who submitted on his behalf the Board could release him on parole.  Mr Raynor referred to the detailed progress that Mr Burgess had made since his last Board, that he has done a lot of hard work in preparing for this hearing.  Mr Raynor referred to the burglaries having been drug-related, methamphetamine was an issue, and his client has now completed the Dependency Treatment Programme.  Mr Raynor referred to Mr Burgess’ release plan including accommodation at (withheld), Mr Raynor referred to it as having the support of (withheld), however it is (withheld) accommodation.
  5. Mr Burgess spoke very well to the Board, he talked about his wish to get into dairy farming as a future and that he has done some qualifications towards that including health and safety and tractor driving.
  6. Case management said that there were no more programmes available for Mr Burgess but if he is not released, he can look at doing more qualifications on the farm.  The Case Manager said Release to Work is not on the plan at the moment but he could be considered for it in the future if not released.
  7. Mr Burgess talked about his high risk situations, and said that drug use would not be an issue as he has not used drugs since coming to prison.
  8. The Board acknowledges Mr Burgess’ progress, the hard work he has done, and the rehabilitation he has undertaken.  We are concerned that he has offended every year since he was aged 18, and that on this plan he has yet to do any reintegration to demonstrate that he can put into place the skills he has learned on the programmes.
  9. The Board acknowledges that Mr Burgess has prepared a release plan, however we think it is not quite robust enough to mitigate any future risk he presents with.  In particular, he said that he has not reconnected with his family but he would like to do that, however he is relying upon them for support.
  10. Without that reintegration, Mr Burgess’ risk is considered undue and parole is declined.  The Board will see him again in six months.  We ask that before that hearing he is supported in an application for Release to Work if suitable.  We also ask that before the next hearing he has a reintegration hui with the Probation Officer and support people.
  11. Mr Burgess will be seen in March 2021.

Ms M More

Panel Convenor