Hermanus Theodorus KRIEL 26/5/2021
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hermanus Theodorus KRIEL
Hearing: 26 May 2021
at Christchurch Mens Prison via AVL from NZPB Office
Members of the Board: Ms K Snook
Assoc. Prof P Brinded
Mr J Thomson
Ms K Coutts
Counsel: Mr P Shamy
Support Persons: (withheld)
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Hermanus Theodorus Kriel, 27, appeared for the further consideration of parole in relation to a sentence of life imprisonment for murder which was imposed in 2010. There was also a conviction for indecent assault. Mr Kriel committed the murder of Liberty Templeman at the age of 14.
- Mr Kriel previously had a RoC*Rol of 0.83365. It is now a 0.21549. This is because his RoC*Rol has been recalculated following a re-evaluation of the RoC*Rol measure undertaken by the Department of Corrections. It has now moved from the very high range to a low risk range of risk of re-imprisonment within five years of being released. The change is based on static (unchangeable) risk factors rather than any change that is the result of the psychological treatment he has received.
- Mr Kriel saw the Board last on 3 December 2020. At that hearing the Board provided additional material to Mr Kriel, his lawyer and the Department that had been provided to it by the victim's family at its meeting with the Board. The victim's family believe that there was a sexual element to the murder. The hearing in December 2020 was effectively adjourned until today to allow Mr Kriel and his counsel to review the material. The material was also referred to the Departmental psychologist so that it could be reviewed by her. This was to provide the psychologist with the opportunity to make an assessment as to whether that additional information may or may not influence her assessment of risk and Mr Kriel’s treatment needs.
- Before the hearing today the Board had met with the family of the victim. We gave Mr Kriel a summary of what they said to us. He had also been shown their written submissions in advance of the hearing. In short, the victim's family remain opposed to Mr Kriel’s release. (withheld). It is their view that Mr Kriel should not be released until he acknowledges in full the reasons for the offending. (withheld)They remain concerned about Mr Kriel’s apparent lack of remorse and the fact that he has never apologised to them.
- In response to this summary of the victim’s views Mr Kriel said today that he did begin the assessment phase for the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme (STURP) but was assessed as not suitable for that programme. Instead he did (withheld) sessions of treatment one-to-one with the psychologist.
- In advance of the hearing, we had written submissions from Mr Kriel’s counsel, Mr Shamy. Mr Kriel was not seeking a release on parole today. In his submissions, Mr Shamy records that he has taken instructions from Mr Kriel, and from (withheld), who deny the matters referred to in the information provided by the victim's family and supporters.
- Mr Kriel was not seeking release today because he is involved in reintegration activities via (withheld) and is doing well on that. He remains in self-care and is working on the farm. His reintegration work with the support of (withheld) will continue over the next four to six months to develop his life skills.
- The plan is that Mr Kriel will participate in guided releases into the community. He has his first release into the community for the purpose of (withheld) later this week. He told the Board today that he is anxious about that. There will be more (withheld) trips and (withheld). There will be a (withheld)and ultimately there will be overnight releases to (withheld). Mr Kriel also plans to participate in Release to Work, hopefully in the timber framing area, to assist him in his ultimate goal which is to undertake a (withheld) apprenticeship.
- At the moment, there is no approved address. Mr Kriel has the ongoing support of (withheld). They were at the hearing today. The issue with their address is that (withheld). The address is deemed unsuitable by the Community Probation Service until such time as (withheld). We expect that will remain the position for understandable reasons. (withheld).
- The Board had a psychological memorandum dated 24 February 2021. Mr Kriel remains assessed as at low risk of violent re-offending. As the information provided by the victim's family to the Board is not an established record through the judicial processes, an exploratory approach was taken by the psychologist with Mr Kriel as to his views of the information. The psychologist records that Mr Kriel is said not to perceive the information provided as an accurate representation of his behaviour.
- The psychologist concludes that, in her view, the additional information did not further inform the overall risk assessment for Mr Kriel. A further specific assessment as to Mr Kriel’s risk of future sexual offending was deemed to remain unsuitable.
- The recommendations of the psychologist this time around are relatively brief. It was prepared by the same psychologist who prepared the previous psychological assessment for the Board dated 30 September 2020.
- As noted earlier Mr Kriel has participated in (withheld) sessions of one-to-one treatment with the psychologist. In the 30 September 2020 psychological assessment, it is noted that Mr Kriel still has limited insight into factors that may have contributed to his offending. The psychologist said, at that time, that this leaves some questions as to Mr Kriel’s ability to appropriately identify, and then subsequently manage, factors that lead up to his use of violence as occurred with his index offending.
- The psychologist concluded that Mr Kriel was not suitable for an intensive group treatment programme such as the STURP.
- However at that point the psychologist did recommend that Mr Kriel engage in further individual psychological treatment. That work was seen to be something that could continue alongside reintegration work, such as within the self - care unit context or within the community upon release. The treatment would ideally seek to:
- (withheld); and
- That treatment recommendation seems to now have been reduced in scope in the psychological memorandum prepared for this Board and dated 24 February 2021. The recommendation now is that as Mr Kriel is unlikely to be exposed to situations where his risk might become evident within a prison environment he should engage in further psychological intervention upon release rather than within prison. This psychological intervention would be to help Mr Kriel adjust to life outside of prison and to further develop his ability to manage offence related factors.
- The case manager confirmed today that as a result of this most recent recommendation by the psychologist Mr Kriel is no longer on the waitlist for psychological treatment in prison.
- When we talked to Mr Kriel today about the offending, he explained it in one of the four ways that he explained it at the trial. He continued to say that there was an argument after he slipped into Liberty and she fell and hit her face on the rock. He said that this led to her being very angry. He said she then hit him and he now knows he completely overreacted and hit her several times. He denied deliberately killing Liberty.
- When Mr Kriel first described to us what he says happened, he said when Liberty fell after he hit her, he thought she was dead and he tried to hide her body after that. He dragged her to a place where she could not be seen. Later in the hearing he said that when she fell after he hit her, he then got on top of her and held her down by the neck and continued to punch her. That was his explanation as to why there was evidence of attempted strangulation. He continued to say that her top was dragged up when he was dragging her and he decided then to make it look like a rape so that no one would think a 14-year-old had committed the offending. Mr Kriel said that he still cannot 100 per cent explain why he reacted that severely when he was confronted by Liberty.
- Mr Kriel was able to talk about some of his high-risk situations and said that he has learned from the work that he has done with the psychologist about when he is getting angry and beginning to react. He has strategies to deal with that. He is able to communicate much better with his family about issues that arise.
- We have considered all of the material available to us. It is our view that the deficits that were identified by the psychologist in the earlier psychological assessments remain. At a minimum these need to be addressed. We consider that Mr Kriel needs to complete further psychological treatment in prison. Whether that treatment can be provided alongside reintegration activities is a matter for others to determine.
- We also remain concerned that Mr Kriel does not have an explanation for why he overacted in such an extremely violent way and killed Liberty. Under the Parole Act 2002 the Board may receive and take into consideration whatever information it thinks fit, whether or not that information would be admissible as evidence in a court of law.
- Having considered all of the information available to us, including the additional information provided by Liberty’s family, we think that one plausible explanation for why Mr Kriel overreacted as he did was that there was some sort of sexual element to the offending. The Judge in sentencing found the indecent assault to be a non-sexual act. However he said that Mr Kriel’s explanation for Liberty’s anger and the ensuing fight was based on a “slim premise” and was “unlikely”. It was essentially the same explanation we received today. The Judge goes on to conclude at paragraph 15 of the sentencing notes that:
“I have to say that what seems more likely is that you did something to gravely offend Liberty, possibly a sexual advance".
- This is something that we think Mr Kriel should also explore more with the psychologist as part of the further psychological treatment that we are supporting today.
- Parole is declined. It was not sought. Risk remains undue at this time. It is our view that the combination of the additional psychological treatment that we are recommending, as well as the reintegration work that is currently planned, will take longer than the six month period which was sought by Mr Shamy on Mr Kriel’s behalf. We will schedule Mr Kriel to be seen again by a Board in May 2022 and no later than the end of that month.
- We ask for an updated psychological risk assessment for the next hearing.
Ms K Snook