Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 12 October 2021
at Springhill Corrections Facility via Videoconference
Members of the Board: Sir R Young – Chairperson
Prof. P Brinded
In attendance: (withheld) – Case Manager
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Mr Abraham, who is 40 years of age, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 2003. He had two minor convictions prior to that. His security classification is minimum.
- We last saw him in June 2021. Mr Abraham had completed all of the rehabilitation identified for him. He had suggested an address with (withheld) in (withheld). After some in depth enquiries, it became apparent to the Board that that accommodation was unsuitable and so a further adjournment was given for further consideration of accommodation.
- As to the current position, Mr Abraham’s conduct has continued to be good within the prison. He is currently resident in the Whare.
- Mr Abraham today sought parole and asked if he could be released to the address we had previously rejected in June. We told him that, given the instability of that address and our concern about the address it would not be possible for us to agree to do so.
- Other suggestions made in the Parole Assessment Report involved a release to (withheld). They have not undertaken any formal assessment of his suitability to date and the earliest date that would be available for accommodation at (withheld) would be early-2022. However, (withheld) had indicated that they did not think that electronic monitoring of any curfew would be appropriate for their residents. The reasons were somewhat difficult to follow given they said they were concerned about police visits. Police visits checking on curfew would be limited if Mr Abraham was in fact electronically monitored. But in any event, we have indicated we think it highly likely any Board releasing Mr Abraham would want electronic monitoring and so it seemed unlikely that (withheld) accommodation would be available. No other accommodation is immediately available.
- When we spoke to Mr Abraham, we told him that we had spoken to the victims and they strongly opposed his release. However, they said that if he was to be released they had family in the previous areas identified and in addition in Auckland and in the top of the South Island. They asked that, if Mr Abraham was to be released he only be released to the bottom half of the South Island. We provided Mr Abraham with that information. We explained that our job was to try and balance his interests and being released in an area where he has supportive family and the victims’ interests. In this case that was not an easy or straightforward balance to undertake.
- So, the first step we think is to try and understand the true extent of the whānau support that Mr Abraham does have in the Auckland/ Waikato area. We ask Corrections to focus on that assessment as part of the work for the next hearing. We would wish to understand the support that Mr Abraham has from (withheld) and (withheld) in Auckland. We note Community Probation have tried to contact them on a number of occasions recently without success. There may be understandable reasons for that lack of contact.
- Secondly, we would like to better understand what the current position is with regard to Mr Abraham’s (withheld) proposed address in (withheld) and the support that whanau could provide for Mr Abraham on any release. As we pointed out to Mr Abraham, we felt that the family had not been straightforward with the Board last time and had not provided accurate information about the stability of that house. Further enquiries by Corrections could be made there.
- Finally, we think there should be a plan B for accommodation. That is, efforts should be made by Corrections to see if there is suitable accommodation for Mr Abraham in the lower half of the South Island.
- Finally, we acknowledge the very good work that Mr Abraham has done within the prison. He has been a well-behaved inmate. He has had good employment now for 18 months out in the community and has had offer of permanent employment reflecting his work ethic and behaviour.
- All of that will take some time and we will see Mr Abraham again in nine months’ time by the end of July 2022.
This decision has been issued following consideration of parole in accordance with the provisions of an epidemic management notice issued by the Government on 30 March 2020 and in accordance with section 13A of the Parole Act 2002. There has been a hearing conducted by a Panel Convenor and a Board Member. All of the usual material has been considered and there has been a videoconference discussion involving the Board, the Offender, Counsel and Case Management.
Sir Ron Young