Jeremy KERR - 12/02/2020
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Jeremy Hamish KERR
Hearing: 12 February 2020
at Tongariro Prison via AVL to Waikeria Prison
Members of the Board:
- Judge G F Ellis – Panel Convenor
- Mr A Spierling
- Ms M Kleist
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Jeremy Hamish Kerr is serving a sentence of nine years and nine months’ imprisonment. Mr Kerr pleaded guilty to two charges of blackmail for which he was sentenced to eight years, and to additional charges of possession of drugs for supply and dealing in a class C drug for which he was sentenced to one year and three months cumulative.
- His sentence commencement date was 23 March 2016, his parole eligibility date was 13 January 2019, and his sentence expiry date 13 July 2025.
- Mr Kerr sent blackmail letters to Fonterra and Federated Farmers referencing 1080 poison, enclosed a packet of infant formula contaminated with 1080, and the Court found that his objective was personal financial advantage because of his interest in promoting an alternative pest control product.
- The drug offending involved possession of 32,000 pills with a street value of some $64,000. He has previous convictions for growing and selling cannabis in 2005.
- His underlying risk factors were identified as poor problem‑solving, limited awareness of the consequences of his actions on others, risk‑taking and financial involvement, lack of support from family and inability to accept feedback.
- Mr Kerr was most recently before the Board on 9 December 2019. The Board then noted that he had completed rehabilitation but the Board was concerned that his safety plan did not adequately address potential financial pressures nor his drug dealing and the Board expected the development of his plan, particularly regarding drug offending risks.
- The Parole Assessment Report (PAR) now before us advises that Mr Kerr has continued employment in the plant nursery. It is said that he manages himself well using skills from his psychological treatment. A reintegration hui was held in November and there is a positive report on the outcome of that hui in the PAR.
- Mr Kerr has a very low assessed risk of re-offending (RoC*Rol 0.0306) and he is on a minimum security classification. There are no incidents or misconducts recorded during his sentence.
- The Board has a psychological report from 25 October 2018 which advises that his risk of re-offending is considered to be low. His release plan was assessed by the psychologist and was considered adequate for reintegration purposes.
- Mr Kerr has received very positive reports on his presentation and conduct in prison. The Principal Corrections Officer (PCO) present confirmed the comment in the PAR that his behaviour and attitude have been consistent with his minimum security classification. The PCO added that he has met all his rehabilitation and reintegration needs and that he was, in the PCO’s expression, “a good prisoner to have in the unit”.
- Mr Kerr has a solid accommodation and release proposal to the home of [withheld], which has been approved as suitable. [withheld] was present in person at this hearing to confirm her support for him in the community. He has no specifically‑organised employment and indicated that he would not be in a hurry to seek paid employment but it is apparent that he has independent means available to him under the management of [withheld] who has the independent management of Mr Kerr’s financial interests. He also owns his own home in [withheld] which he said was rented out. He clearly has the prosocial support of [withheld], and the particular support of [withheld] who will have a significant role in the oversight of his financial affairs.
- Mr Kerr was challenged as to the circumstances of his offending and the changes that have now occurred through his time in prison. He stressed the difficulty of his mental state at the time of the offending and compared that with the circumstances now awaiting him on his release. He has an attentive and strongly pro-social partner. He has positive support from other close family members. He has been supported to address the personal issues affecting him at the time of his offending. He expressed strong motivation to avoid situations or associations linked to his past offending. He has financial security. Overall the Board is satisfied that he no longer poses an undue risk, and that the clinical assessment of his low risk of re‑offending is fair.
- In these circumstances, Mr Kerr is entitled to release as a matter of law, notwithstanding the length of time remaining on his sentence. The date for release will be 26 February 2020.
- Given the time remaining on the sentence, he will be subject to standard and special conditions for two years from the date of release and the special conditions, as have been discussed with him, are now as set out below.
- Special conditions are as follows:
(1) Not to engage in any employment or have any role in the affairs of any business, trust, company or other entity, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(2) To reside at [withheld] or any other address approved in writing by a Probation Officer, and not move from that address unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(3) Not to give financial or business advice to any person or entity unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(4) 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.
(5) Not to be involved in the handling of money, provision of advice or management of the financial accounts or transactions, of any person or entity, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(6) 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.
(7) To attend an alcohol and drug assessment, and attend, participate in and complete any treatment or counselling directed by a probation officer.
(8) Not to possess, use, or consume alcohol, controlled drugs or psychoactive substances except controlled drugs prescribed for you by a health professional.
Judge G F Ellis