Tavita TUETUE - 26/05/2020

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002


Hearing:                                            26 May 2020

at Christchurch Men’s Prison via VMR from NZ Parole Board, Head Office Wellington

Members of the Board:

Mr N Trendle – Chairperson

Assoc Prof. P Brinded Dr G Coyle

Counsel:       Mr J Lucas


  1. Tavita Tuetue was sentenced to preventive detention on 24 February 2000 following trial in respect of two separate sexual attacks on women in their own homes in July 1988 and February 1994. He had been convicted twice previously for similar offending in 1980 and 1996. He has also acknowledged a fifth similar sexual attack for which he was responsible in about 1993, which did not go to trial.  He has been in prison for the last 23 years.
  2. In 2011 Mr Tuetue successfully completed the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme. That was followed up with individual psychological treatment in 2013 and a further seven sessions finishing in January this year that were designed to identify and address offence- related risk factors that were not the primary target of earlier treatment. Mr Tuetue also updated his safety plan. The assessing psychologist formed the view that he was able to openly discuss his offending behaviour and recognise similar patterns in his interaction with others.
  3. Mr Tuetue is presently in the Tirohanga Paeroa Unit at Christchurch Men's Prison. He holds a minimum security classification. He is working outside the wire in the timber processing plant.
  4. Prior to today's hearing the Board met with one of the victims of his offending who was of the view that Mr Tuetue was not capable of change or rehabilitation. Nor was there any evidence of remorse on his part.  She retained concerns for her personal safety and the safety of other women. Given his extensive predatory sexual offending history, she was of the view that he would return to offending if he were to be released. She reiterated her view that if released, he should not be permitted to enter the Christchurch or Wellington areas.
  5. When his victim’s views were relayed to Mr Tuetue he responded acknowledging the hurt he had perpetrated on all of his victims. He told us that he was unable to directly express his remorse to them but he had endeavoured to demonstrate it by completing everything on his sentence plan to address his offending. That was reflected in his completion of the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme and the individual treatment he had been undertaking.
  6. The Board received a psychological report dated 31 March 2020 which outlined the progress Mr Tuetue has made in his treatment. The psychologist concluded that Mr Tuetue had developed his insight into his past sexual offending and offence paralleling behaviour in prison. He was assessed as being in the moderate-high risk band for further sexual offending. His release plan and change plan had been refined since he had completed the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme. The psychologist referred to Mr Tuetue’s apparent good understanding of those plans. She was of the view that no further offence-related rehabilitation work was required. She noted Mr Tuetue’s commencement of release planning with respect to supported accommodation in the [withheld] area. To progress his reintegration the psychologist supported a transfer to a prison closer to the area where he planned to go when released.
  7. Mr Tuetue was represented by his counsel Mr Lucas who made submissions in support of his release on parole. He had been accepted for supported accommodation through [withheld] who had proposed longer term support for Mr Tuetue. Counsel had gone through the release conditions with Mr Tuetue who had confirmed his acknowledgement of and commitment to them. Mr Lucas emphasised that Mr Tuetue had completed significant work on understanding his feelings and emotions and had come to a place where he unequivocally acknowledged what had happened in his past and was in a position where it would not happen again in the future. He had engaged in working outside the wire and was now well placed to return to the community.
  8. The Board acknowledges that Mr Tuetue has completed rehabilitation activities and is entering the reintegrative phase of his sentence. We discussed with him the detail of his release proposal to accept the offer of supported accommodation with [withheld] in [withheld].
  9. We are of the view that the plan at this stage is not of sufficient robustness to adequately manage his release from prison so as to satisfy us that he would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community and in particular, adult women.
  10. First, we think it important, having regard to the length of time he has been in prison, that Mr Tuetue is subject to the full range of reintegration activities including self-care and release to work. Secondly, we note the Board has previously expressed reservation as to whether the level of support and supervision and the duration of [withheld] supported accommodation was sufficient to meet his reintegration needs. His support network is not of sufficient depth, nor is there the structure that the Board would expect to support someone with his risk profile returning to the community. In brief, the plan falls well short of providing for Mr Tuetue’s safe transition to the community. There is much more to be done before we could be satisfied that he met the statutory criteria for release on parole.
  11. Accordingly, parole today must be declined. Mr Tuetue will be scheduled to return to the Board in 12 months, by 26 May 2021. The Board shares the view of the psychologist that the next steps may best follow a transfer to a prison closer to where Mr Tuetue seeks release.

Mr N Trendle
Panel Convenor