Joseph Warren LEPPER 8/10/2020

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Joseph Warren LEPPER

Hearing: 08 October 2020

at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington

Members of the Board: Ms M More (Panel Convenor), Mr L Tawera, Dr G Coyle

Counsel: Mr S Fraser

DECISION OF THE BOARD

  1. Joseph Warren Lepper is 43, he appears before the Board on a sentence of preventive detention for abduction of the female over 16 for sex.  With an associate he took a young woman off a street in Dunedin and tried to force her into his van, he pleaded guilty to abduction with intent to commit unlawful sexual connection.  That offending was seven months after he had been released following a sentence of 10 years for the rape and unlawful sexual connection with a woman.
  2. Mr Lepper has considerable offending history from December 1994 when he was aged 17, it includes but is not limited to; property related offending, violence, driving related offending, a number of burglaries, non-compliance with bail and non-compliance with having a driver’s licence.
  3. Mr Lepper has a RoC*RoI of 0.68767, his parole eligibility date was 21 October 2018, he is on a sentence of preventative detention.
  4. Mr Lepper’s classification is low and there are noted to be a number of incidents relating to his behaviour.  That includes thoughts (withheld), abuse towards staff, theft and possession of tobacco.
  5. Today the PCO tells us he has just been exited from the unit because he is excitable and he can get frustrated.  He was given work in the laundry, an inmate accused him of stealing laundry, there was an altercation and Mr Lepper was exited.
  6. He is now on the top jail and his classification is to be reviewed, it may go up.  Mr Lepper told us that things did become heated, and he took a pre-emptive strike.  He said he consciously elected to take that “strike” in front of offices rather than have an altercation behind closed doors.
  7. Mr Lepper was represented by counsel Mr Fraser who submitted on his client's behalf that he was not seeking parole, but that he was asking for a recommendation from the Board that Mr Lepper is referred directly to the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme.
  8. Mr Lepper had his case manager (withheld) at the Board who said he was eligible for the Dependency Treatment Programme as well is the ASOTP, and that he could not go into the DTP until some other inmates had left that unit.
  9. The Board has the assistance of a psychological assessment dated 15 September 2020 which notes that Mr Lepper is doing well in the unit, but there is this pattern of verbally abusive behaviours towards female staff.  The psychologist said that Mr Lepper denied that he planned to rape the victim of the index offending, however, he entered a guilty plea because he probably would have raped her had the abduction been successful.
  10. The psychologist said that Mr Lepper’s risk of offending is high if he has high levels of stress, he may have increased levels of sexual preoccupation and sex drive, substance abuse and the presence of psychotic symptoms; there would also be a high risk of violent recidivism.
  11. The psychologist recommended that Mr Lepper complete the DTP and commence the ASOTP.
  12. Mr Lepper has not had the necessary rehabilitation, as such his risk is undue and parole is declined.  The Board sees merit in the psychologist recommendations, that he complete the DTP and do the ASOTP.  The Board will see Mr Lepper again in 18 months in order to give Mr Lepper the opportunity for the rehabilitation to take place.
  13. Pursuant to section 21A of the Parole Act 2002 the Board is specifying that before Mr Lepper is seen again, he completes the relevant activity of Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme.
  14. We also strongly encourage the Department to facilitate access to the DTP for Mr Lepper.
  15. Mr Lepper will be seen again in April 2022.  If there is no extended Board available then he is to be seen at the extended Board that most recently predates April 2022.

Ms M More

Panel Convenor