Raymond Wahia RATIMA 2/9/2021
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Raymond Wahia RATIMA
Hearing: Thursday 2 September 2021
at Rolleston Prison via Teleconference
Members of the Board: Sir Ron Young – Chairperson
Prof. P Brinded
Counsel: Ms L Drummond
In Attendance: [withheld] – Case Manager
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Mr Ratima is 54 years of age. He was convicted in 1992 of seven murders and attempted murder and murder of an unborn child. He had previous convictions, although not significant before his current imprisonment.
- We last saw him in September 2017. At that stage the Board decided a postponement order for four years was appropriate. The Board noted that Mr Ratima had had a number of years of one-on-one counselling, he had a safety plan, he was employed within the prison and was making good progress. The Board thought he needed further reintegration, perhaps moving to self-care. As well, the Board noted his interest in tikanga and had encouraged visits to the marae.
- Unfortunately, today we did not have the benefit of an updated psychological report. An administrative error occurred, and we were not given the report until a few minutes before the hearing. In those circumstances, it was not possible for us to read the updated August 2021 report. We apologise to Mr Ratima and his counsel for that error.
- However, we were able to hold a valuable hearing with him. There are a lot of positives about Mr Ratima’s progress in prison. His conduct overall has been very respectful. He is working on the prison site and has very positive reports from his employment. He completed the VPP in 2003 and since that time had 96 sessions with a psychologist between 2013 and 2016 and then what is called three booster sessions in the last few weeks. Overall Corrections say he needs no further rehabilitative work.
- He hoped to seek parole today to [withheld] accommodation, but [withheld] have said it is unlikely that a bed would be available for him before six to eight months. And so, parole was not sought today for those reasons. The [withheld] have indicated that they would support his release to their [withheld].
- Overall Mr Ratima has worked hard on his reintegration within the prison and is to be commended for the work he has done.
- There are several issues that are of concern to us, however, relating to his risk. Firstly, although Mr Ratima has obviously had extensive further psychological counselling when we questioned him today about the work that he done and his risk arising from his murders he focused solely on the work that he had done with a psychologist relating to the risks he might face in the community if confronted by an upset member of the public or a victim. While we do not undervalue those risks and they are important; but they are in one sense secondary to the risk that arose from the murder his understanding of those risks and his strategies to meet them. He was not able to address those with us.
- Mr Ratima throughout the hearing stressed how much he loved his children. When we asked him therefore why he had killed them, he said he felt he then was putting them in a better place.
- Overall, therefore, we were not especially confident that Mr Ratima had truly understood the circumstances under which he came to kill these members of his family including, not just his own children, but the babysitter, partner, and others.
- The second issue of particular concern to us relates to his safety plan, although he has apparently prepared an updated safety plan, we do not have a copy and therefore cannot assess its value.
- Thirdly, Mr Ratima says that he now is in a relationship. The relationship is with a woman that he knew as boyfriend and girlfriend in their very young teens. They ended that relationship when he was 13yrs or 14yrs he told us. They met again when he was on a guided release about four years ago and there have been regular visits and telephone contact between the woman and Mr Ratima.
- It is no exaggeration to say that the woman that Mr Ratima is in a relationship with is fragile. She had a childhood trauma that caused or contributed to a serious drug addiction. She seems to have made a good life since that time, but we are told she is fragile. Some of the comments she made to the probation officer were of concern, including the fact that relating to the murders “there are two sides to all issues”.
- We raised with Mr Ratima the appropriateness of developing such a relationship in prison given the events of the murder occurred when his relationship had fallen apart. Mr Ratima stressed that this relationship was different and that he was also supported by her family. But on questioning it was apparent to us that the family of the woman have had very little contact with Mr Ratima, and would hardly be in a position to make a judgement about whether they would wish to support him in the long term.
- All of this causes us some concern. The relationship is untested. Mr Ratima and the women have only ever had prison visits and telephone calls. The stress of daily living has never been part of their relationship. And the woman has troubled past and seems to be vulnerable.
- In those circumstances we consider that Mr Ratima may have been better to have focused on his own reintegration.
- We are satisfied that Mr Ratima remains an undue risk and cannot be released. We think further work needs to be done with regard to his understanding of the reasons why he has offended and the risks arising from it and what the connection might be between that and any new relationship. Mr Ratima seemed to us to be unable to understand the worrying connections between the past and his current situation.
- We will see him again therefore, by the end of October 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 teleconference discussion involving the Board, the Offender, Counsel and Case Management.
Sir Ron Young