Jarome Raymond FONUA 13/5/2021

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

Jarome Raymond FONUA

Hearing: 13 May 2021

at Mount Eden Corrections Facility via AVL to NZPB Offices, Wellington

Members of the Board: Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor)

Ms P Rose

Sir Kim Workman

Counsel:                                        Mr H Smith

Support Persons: (withheld)


  1. Jarome Raymond Fonua is serving a total sentence of four years nine months’ imprisonment for being a member of an organised criminal group, money-laundering, possessing methamphetamine and assault.   His statutory release date is 26 February 2024.
  2. Mr Fonua came to New Zealand from Australia (withheld).  His offending involved his position as the Secretary for the Comancheros Motorcycle Club.  He took advantage of that position to be involved in what the Court described as a sophisticated money-laundering operation.  He was recently before the Court in respect of an assault on another prisoner which resulted in a cumulative sentence of three months’ imprisonment.  Upon release he will be subject to a deportation order to return to Australia.
  3. Mr Fonua has an offending history in Australia.  We note a previous term of imprisonment of three years for robbery and more recently a shorter term for assault occasioning bodily harm.
  4. Mr Fonua has a RoC*RoI for his New Zealand offending as .35112.  He has been waitlisted to attend medium intensity programmes.
  5. Mr Smith appeared as counsel and advised the Board that Mr Fonua has a release proposal if he were to be released in New Zealand living with (withheld).  He submitted that there would be some delay between his release and deportation arrangements as Immigration New Zealand had referred to a timeframe of six to eight weeks.  Upon return to Australia he will be living with his family in Queensland.  He has immediate and extended family to support him there.
  6. Mr Fonua had told us that he was not associated with the Comancheros Motorcycle Club in Australia.  He acknowledged links there to the Nomads.  He told us that he is motivated to participate in the rehabilitation programmes in New Zealand.
  7. Mr Fonua’s PCO reported no issues with his conduct or compliance.  He is currently involved as a unit cleaner and also with painting and other maintenance of the cell facility.  His case manager advised that no date was available at present for Mr Fonua to start any of the programmes on his sentence plan.  He will be moving prisons in the near future and that will influence the timing of his participation on the programmes identified in his sentence plan.
  8. Mr Smith helpfully provided the Board with a summary of submissions made on Mr Fonua’s sentencing.  We also have the Judge’s sentencing notes.
  9. Having regard to the seriousness of his offending in New Zealand and to his Australian offending, the Board could not be satisfied that his release would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community in either New Zealand or Australia.  We note he is waitlisted to attend several programmes.  Clearly, it is not contemplated he will complete all the identified programmes.  In the Board’s view a programme such as the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme would seem to equip Mr Fonua with the skills and strategies needed to contribute to a reduction in his risk.  We leave the pathway to the prison.  He is aware that he will need to provide confirmation of his release plan for when he returns to Australia.
  10. Until that work is completed we could not be satisfied that he met the statutory threshold for release on parole.  It is declined.  To allow sufficient time for Mr Fonua to attend to these matters, he will be scheduled to return to the Board in nine months, by 28 February 2022, subject to section 26 of the Parole Act.

Mr N Trendle

Panel Convenor