Christopher Graeme SMITH 7/12/21
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Christopher Graeme SMITH
Hearing: 7 December 2021
at Rolleston Prison via MS Teams
Members of the Board: Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
Dr G Coyle
Mr C King
Counsel: Mr A Bailey/ Mr R George
In Attendance: [withheld] - Case Manager
Support Persons: [withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Christopher Graeme Smith is serving a sentence totalling 14 years’ imprisonment for attempted murder, killing a police dog, using a firearm against a law enforcement officer, and other offending. His statutory release date is 13 September 2024.
- Mr Smith has completed the rehabilitation phase of his sentence and is now working in the Rolleston Construction Yard Outside the Wire on reintegration activities. He participated in a reintegration hui with [withheld] in March.
- When he last appeared before the Board, a letter from the supervisor of one of his victims indicated the supervisor’s view that, when released, Mr Smith should not be permitted to live or remain in the South Island. At the last hearing, options were discussed.
- For Mr Smith, Mr Bailey made further written submissions supplemented by Mr George, who appeared at the hearing in support of Mr Smith’s return to live with [withheld]. The submission was made that they provide his sole means of support in the community. Mr Smith had also made written proposals to the Board.
- Prior to today’s hearing, the Board met with [withheld] who was Mr Smith’s principal victim. The main points of that submission were conveyed to Mr Smith. [withheld] referred to what he described as the unpredictability and anti‑authoritarian views of Mr Smith that he felt still contributed to his risk and the safety of others. [withheld] expressed the view that he was personally not opposed to Mr Smith’s release into the South Island as long as it was at a distance from the Christchurch area [withheld]. Finally, he made it clear that he did not want, and nor did Mr Smith’s other victims want, any future contact at all with Mr Smith.
- The parole assessment report before us today recorded a referral to [withheld] in Dunedin as a means of transitioning Mr Smith to the community. His Case Manager had initiated that referral and discussed it with Mr Smith. The report records that the referral was subsequently discontinued on the basis of “VNR concerns”. Arising from our meeting with [withheld] today, it is clear to the Board that a release plan that sought his transition to the community through Dunedin (for example) is a viable proposal in his case. It is essential, in the Board’s view, that after spending over 11 years in prison, he is the subject of a supported and structured transition to the community. As we remarked last time, his return directly to [withheld] would not offer that important step and the Board does not favour it.
- Parole must be declined. We invite his Case Manager to continue working with Mr Smith to return to the Board with a proposal that assists his transition to the community through the structured, supported environment we referred to. It may well be that the [withheld] option offers a suitable pathway. Alternatively, a programme such as [withheld] may also be considered. Owing to Board’s concerns for his victims, we do not regard options in the Canterbury district as viable. It may be that a transfer to the Otago Corrections Facility could be considered to progress matters.
- Mr Smith will be scheduled to return to the Board in three months, by 31 March 2022.
Mr N Trendle