Scott WATSON 3/12/2020
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 3 December 2020
at Rolleston Prison
Members of the Board: Sir Ron Young – Chairperson
Ass. Prof. P Brinded
Dr G Coyle
Counsel: Mr K Cook
Support Persons: (withheld)
In Attendance: (withheld) – Case Manger
Observers: Ms D Coe – NZPB Communications Manager
Ms M Lourens – Stuff
Ms J Speedy – TV3
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Mr Watson is 49 years of age and was convicted of two charges of murder in 1999 and imprisoned for life. His security rating is minimum. He had some previous convictions prior to the murders involving property and violent offending.
- We last saw him in 2016. At that stage a postponement order was made for a period of four years. The Board then said he needed intensive treatment and was a very high risk.
- As to the current position, we have a psychological report and a PAR report most recently.
- Mr Watson has behaved well within the prison. He has worked well and although there may have been some incidents from time-to-time, primarily the reports from Corrections are positive about his work and behaviour within the prison.
- Unfortunately there has been little progress in identifying appropriate treatment arising from the risk factors that we identified in 2016.
- Today, through counsel, he sought parole. He said that he had a suitable address with his (withheld). He would have good oversight with both his family and friends. He had good communication with them. He has a partner of some 16 years who appeared before us today who was very supportive, as well as other family members and friends. He had possible employment, either with a carving institute or through some renovation work. His conduct in prison had been good.
- Counsel submitted that his risk could be managed in the community with tight conditions and, as he showed that he could behave appropriately, those conditions could be lessened.
- We are satisfied that Mr Watson remains an undue risk and cannot be released.
- First, referring to our decision of 2016, we identified in that decision his risk factors. We then invited those risk factors to be taken and for Corrections to consider what appropriate treatment might be provided to Mr Watson. Obviously that would have to take into account Mr Watson’s denial of the index offending but that was not seen as an insurmountable problem.
- Unfortunately, Mr Watson has not been able, over an extended period, with the help of psychologists to identify his treatment needs and start treatment. We do not in this decision, propose to deal with all the meetings and discussions he has had. Corrections believe that they have provided Mr Watson with reasonable opportunities to identify treatment needs and begin treatment.
- Mr Watson feels that they have not been prepared to help him and have insisted that he confess to the crime or have placed other impediments in his way.
- It is not for us, as we have said, to try and resolve those issues. Recently Mr Watson has been offered the opportunity of having further sessions to identify treatment needs. He has agreed to do so but only on the basis that he could audio record those sessions. Psychological services have said they are not prepared to agree to a recording of the psychological sessions. That is their invariable rule. But they are happy for Mr Watson to have present a support person and for Mr Watson and that person to take notes in the sessions.
- Today after discussion, Mr Watson agreed that he would no longer insist on the sessions being recorded. We commend Mr Watson for that compromise. We think that he now has a clear way forward.
- We ask Corrections now to urgently see Mr Watson. The fact that he has an appeal before the Court of Appeal should not be an impediment. Hopefully Corrections can then identify treatment needs and hopefully a beginning of that treatment in the foreseeable future.
- We wish to be encouraging to Mr Watson and so we have decided to see him relatively quickly. We will see him again by the end of November 2021. In the meantime for the reasons given he remains an undue risk.
Sir Ron Young