Gustav Otto SANFT 4/3/2021

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Gustav Otto SANFT

Hearing: 4 March 2021

at Northland Region Corrections Facility by AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington

Members of the Board: Judge J P Gittos, QSO – Panel Convenor

Mr A Hackney

Ms K Coutts


  1. Gustavo Otto Sanft is a 30-year-old man serving a sentence of four years and four months for offences of manslaughter, possession of a pistol and possession of cannabis for supply.
  2. He entered a guilty plea to the possession of the firearm charge and was found guilty of manslaughter.
  3. The circumstances of that offending were that he was in possession of a sawn-off shotgun.  The victim, his two-year-old daughter, was apparently jumping on a sofa and Mr Sanft pointed this weapon at her and pulled the trigger.  The weapon discharged causing instant death.
  4. The charge was defended on the basis that Mr Sanft did not know the gun was loaded or that it would discharge, there being apparently some issue about its functioning.  The Crown accepted this, but he was charged on the basis of the recklessness of his behaviour and convicted.  The court found that he had failed to the check the weapon was loaded and deliberately pointed it at the girl and pulled the trigger.
  5. Apart from the index offending he has a history of drug offending, breach and driving offences, some of them of a serious character.  When he was last put before the Board on 11 November 2020, the Board noted he had completed his scheduled rehabilitation including the MIRP and DTP programmes, was exhibiting satisfactory behaviour and working outside the wire.  He at that time had no accommodation arranged and was expressing a desire to go (withheld).  That is an issue that is currently active before the Family Court.  The court has adjourned part heard as application to have access to the children in the circumstances.
  6. We have had the opportunity of reading the judges minute in which a comprehensive schedule of all the matters of concern is ventilated.  The matter is not due back before the court again until next month.
  7. In the meantime, Mr Sanft continues to progress well in the prison setting, he is still working outside the wire and has a current application for Release to Work which is shortly to be considered.  His PCO gives him a good report.
  8. He still has no approved address.  In that regard much will depend upon what the Family Court decides and if indeed he is able to relocate to (withheld), then the social support structures and personnel who are available to assist him all be new to the case.
  9. The Board needs to see not only an approved address but a very clear and staged plan for the involvement of social support agencies and the nature and depth of these supports will depend upon whether or not he is living with children or in other circumstances.
  10. There is still a good deal to be resolved as far as Mr Sanft is concerned and some (withheld) that he will need to resolve consequent upon his offending that will need to be grappled with once he is out of prison.
  11. Mr Sanft has asked for a stand-down.  He does not seek parole today and that is realistic.  The risk at this stage must still be conservatively assessed.  Parole is declined, we will see him again in six months’ time before the end of September.

Judge J P Gittos, QSO

Panel Convenor