Brendan Paul HENSON 3/3/2021
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Brendan Paul HENSON
Hearing: 3 March 2021
at Whanganui Prison
Members of the Board: Mr N Trendle – Panel Convener
Mr R Mihinui
Mr A Spierling
Counsel: Ms D Goodlet
In Attendance: Mr J Ellingham
Ms D Coe
Support Persons: (Withheld)
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Brendan Paul Henson is making his first appearance before the Board on a sentence of eight years’ imprisonment for abduction and indecent assault on a girl under the age of 12. The seriousness of his offending was marked by the sentencing Judge with the imposition of a minimum period of imprisonment of five years. That term expires shortly and Mr Henson and can therefore be considered for release on parole. His statutory release date is 17 February 2024.
- The Board has been assisted by a psychological assessment completed in December last year. That assessment refers to Mr Henson’s previous offending against a five-year-old victim in Australia for which he was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment. The psychologist assessed Mr Henson as falling in a group of offenders who pose a medium to high risk of sexually re-offending. The report concludes with the recommendation that Mr Henson should attend a Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme. Prior to that occurring the psychologist indicated that individual work with a psychologist to prepare Mr Henson for the Kia Marama Programme may be necessary.
- Ms Goodlet appeared as counsel and acknowledged on behalf of Mr Henson that he was committed to understanding more about what brought him to offend. Mr Henson acknowledged the recommendations of the psychologist but told us that he needed to work individually with a psychologist first.
- In closing, Ms Goodlet submitted that after the initial individual treatment with the psychologist, Mr Henson should have the opportunity to return to the Board when the treatment pathway would be clearer.
- At this point Mr Henson has no developed release plan. He was supported by two friends at the hearing. He has valued that support for when he leaves prison.
- Having regard to the seriousness of his offending and keeping in mind Mr Henson’s previous offending overseas, it is essential in the Board's view that he completes an intensive programme to address the reasons that brought him to offend. Until that work is completed the Board could not be satisfied that his release would not pose a risk to the safety of the community and in particular to young children. His risk will not be adequately addressed in the initial phase of the work with the psychologist.
- Parole is declined. He will be scheduled to return to the Board in 15 months, by 30 May 2022. For that hearing the Board would be assisted by a psychological assessment as to the progress Mr Henson made in treatment together with recommendations as to any outstanding treatment or reintegration needs.