Robert Stanley LYON 26/2/2021

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Robert Stanley LYON

Hearing: 26 February 2021

at Waikeria Prison via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington

Members of the Board: Sir Ron Young – Chairperson

Assoc. Prof. P Brinded

Dr G Coyle

Mr S Perry

Counsel:                                           Mr David Allan


  1. Robert Stanley Lyon, who is 37 years of age, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, rape and arson.  He was convicted and sentenced in 2002.  His security classification is minimum.
  2. We saw him last in January 2020.  At that stage, Mr Lyon had completed the Adult Sex Offender Treatment Programme, the DTP and had had a number of one-on-one sessions with a psychologist.  Mr Lyon was hoping to do a PhD and so the proposal was that he undertook that PhD in (withheld) and that he would be transferred to Manawatu Prison so that guided releases could be facilitated, and he could become familiar with that area and his release address.
  3. As to the current position, Mr Lyon’s conduct within the prison has been positive.  He now appears to have, at least in the short term, to have changed his approach to his plan for his ultimate release.  He decided not to ask for a transfer to Manawatu Prison but has stayed at Waikeria Prison and has obtained Release to Work at the Waikeria Prison build on the landscaping team.  Ultimately, it seems he still hopes to be released to (withheld) and, ultimately to do his PhD.  As a result, Mr Lyon has had some time in the community in Hamilton on limited releases but none in Palmerston North.
  4. Overall, he seems to have made good progress.  He is assessed by the psychologist at being medium/low risk of sexual offending and low violent offending.  In the past, Mr Lyon has had a diagnosis of (withheld) although he seems to be well currently.
  5. We spent some time discussing with Mr Lyon a number of issues relating to correspondence he sent to the Board and more generally his approach.  We were concerned about the accuracy of Mr Lyon’s responses to us in correspondence sent to us particularly about empathy and his interest in obtaining parole.  Mr Lyon stressed today that he was empathetic and did have great feelings of sorrow for his victim’s family.
  6. We record that when the hearing began, Mr Lyon was present without Mr Allan.  Just as we were about to ask Mr Lyon whether he had counsel, Mr Allan appeared, and Mr Allan helped us at the hearing.  In the meantime, however, the prison had sent an email to the Parole Board saying that Mr Lyon did not want Mr Allan representing him any longer.  When we asked Mr Lyon about whether he wanted Mr Allan to represent him at the hearing, he indicated he was happy to do so.
  7. In any event, we are concerned about Mr Lyon’s switch from the proposal to go to Manawatu Prison, have a period of time there, getting familiar with the local area by guided releases and setting up the possibility of his PhD to his decision to stay at Waikeria. In our previous decision we supported his move to Manawatu prison to help in settling him into the community where he proposed to be released.
  8. We do not think it was helpful for him to undertake Release to Work at the landscape team at Waikeria when his release proposal was for Palmerston North.  In one sense, this decision reflects a number of other concerning matters including his complaint about previous Parole Board hearings and decisions and his complaint about the accuracy of some psychological reports. These complaints and his decision to stay at Waikeria illustrate a reluctance to take guidance and for him to reflect on his actions when subject to comment he sees as critical.
  9. We are satisfied he remains an undue risk.  We want him to make a clear decision about his PhD and Manawatu Prison.  If he does wish to do his PhD and he does want to be released to Palmerston North, then he will need to go to Manawatu Prison.  He will need to have a period of time at that prison, undertaking guided releases so that we can be satisfied before his release he is familiar with the community and familiar with where he is going to be released to.
  10. If Mr Lyon has an alternative plan for his release, he will need to put that to the Board.  We will see him again by the end of September 2021.

Sir Ron Young