Luke Aaron SMITH - 07/04/2020
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Luke Aaron SMITH
Hearing: 7 April 2020
via teleconference to Auckland Prison
Members of the Board:
Ms K Snook – Panel Convenor
Mr P Elenio
Counsel: Ms E Priest
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- This decision has been issued following consideration of parole in accordance with the provisions of an epidemic management notice issued by the Government on
30 March 2020 and in accordance with section 13A of the Parole Act 2002. There has been a hearing conducted by a Panel Convenor and a Board member. All of the usual material has been considered and there has been a telephone discussion involving the Board, the offender, counsel and the Principal Corrections Officer.
- Luke Aaron Smith, 31, appeared by telephone for the further consideration of parole on a sentence of six years six months’ imprisonment for serious sexual offending against a young girl aged 12 to 16, making objectionable publications and possession and supply of cannabis.
- Mr Smith has a RoC*RoI of 0.34506, he is on a minimum prison security classification, and has a statutory release date of 24 February 2023.
- Mr Smith saw the Board last on 18 October 2018. The Board has an excellent report about his progress. He is described as a role model prisoner. He has completed the DTP. He stayed on as a mentor. He is described in the material before the Board as “outstanding”. While on the DTP Mr Smith also participated in all of the electives, including yoga, kapa haka and was described as open and honest.
- Mr Smith said today that he learnt a great deal on the DTP. He said that the person he thought he was was not the person he in fact was. He learnt about his distorted thinking and has new strategies such as cognitive behavioural therapy to assist in the future. He also knows it is important to have a purpose in life. He plans to be fully abstinent from substances when he does return to the community. He said he used drugs to avoid facing up to his feelings or emotions.
- Mr Smith accepts that he also needs to complete the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme. He was in the starters group for that programme and had been due to start the main programme in February 2020. Mr Smith acknowledged today that because of Covid-19 he has been unable to start the programme. At this time he anticipates it will still take the full nine months. When the time is right Mr Smith has an approved address with [withheld].
- Ms Priest appeared by telephone for Mr Smith today. She filed written submissions in advance of the hearing. She was seeking an adjournment until December 2020 and referred to the positive features of Mr Smith’s case. We do not consider that Mr Smith will be ready for the consideration for parole in December 2020, given the current lockdown situation. The programme has yet to commence. Even if it does commence at the end of the current planned lockdown period the earliest possible time that Mr Smith will complete the programme is around January or February 2021.
- We note that Mr Smith obtained a very good report from the officers. He is working in a trusted position in the officer’s kitchen. He described Mr Smith as keen to learn and knows that he will enjoy the course.
- We asked Mr Smith about his reaction to the redacted submission of the victim which he was shown this morning. He said that they were what he expected to read. He acknowledged that the offending was a horrible act and he fully accepts both what the victim said about him and the need for him to complete the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme.
- For today risk remains undue and parole is declined. Given the fact that Mr Smith has not yet started the intensive programme that he needs, and the period of time that it will take, we will schedule him to be seen again by a Board in May 2021 and no later than the end of that month.
- This allows time for Mr Smith to complete the programme and for a psychological assessment to be completed which provided the Board with an updated risk assessment. That assessment should assess Mr Smith’s treatment gains on the DTP and the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme and Mr Smith’s release proposal and contain recommendations as to any further treatment (if any).
- We also support any reintegration activities that Mr Smith is able to participate in before he returns to the Board.
Ms K Snook