Robin Nigel CHURCHILL 22/6/2021

Progress hearing

Under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002


Hearing: 22 June 2021

at Palmerston North Community Corrections via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington

Members of the Board:

Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor

Mr A Hackney

Sir Kim Workman

Attendees:                                     (withheld)


  1. Robin Nigel Churchill was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder on 25 July 1994.  He was released on parole on 7 September 2020 on standard conditions for life and special conditions for a period of five years.  We are seeing him today for a second monitoring hearing.
  2. The report from his Probation Officer is somewhat spartan.  There were two comments made in it that Mr Churchill took exception to as being inaccurate, in particular the reason for the discontinuance of psychological counselling.  He has remained in (withheld) until very recently when he moved into his own accommodation which was approved by his Probation Officer.  Mr Churchill enjoyed the full support of (withheld) and obviously benefited from that transition to the community.  He has been working on a casual basis but told us he is presently considering a contract for full-time employment with (withheld).
  3. Mr Churchill sought a relaxation of the partial residential restrictions condition and the curfew that is embedded in that condition and also for greater flexibility on the whereabouts condition to enable him to travel to (withheld) to meet with family members.  As to the first, the Board accepts that based on his compliance, the partial residential restrictions are no longer required and we amend the curfew hours to conclude at 5 am to allow Mr Churchill the additional time he told us was needed to travel to work.
  4. So far as the whereabouts condition is concerned, Mr Churchill received approval from his Probation Officer to travel to (withheld) recently.  That event did not occur (withheld).  There is no reason to think that the visit will not continue to be approved.  Despite Mr Churchill’s request to the Board to consider a relaxation of the restriction on his entry into the exclusion zone, we are of the view that any entry into where his victim’s family lives should be the subject of oversight by his Probation Officer. It did not seem to us that he had reflected on their position in the way that submission was made to the Board.
  5. The report before us concluded with a comment from his Probation Officer as to the impact of Mr Churchill being accompanied by supporters to meetings with her.  Mr Churchill commented that he felt he needed to have a supporter with him because of a difference in recollection of what occurred at meetings.  The Board was somewhat surprised at Mr Churchill’s need to be supported when he reports to his Probation Officer.  She also referred to the ongoing communications she was receiving from his supporters that often concerned issues Mr Churchill himself could have raised.  There seemed to us to be an element of manipulation that had developed in his relationship with his Probation Officer.  There is obviously a need for that relationship to further develop.
  6. The Board will not see Mr Churchill again for a further monitoring hearing as the timeframe to do so will expire soon.  From Friday, 25 June 2021 his special conditions as varied, which will remain in force for five years from the date of his release, are as follows, subject to any future variation:

(1) To reside at an address approved by a Probation Officer, or any other address approved in writing by a Probation Officer, and not move from that address unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(2) To remain at your approved address between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am daily, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(3) If directed, to attend a psychological assessment and attend, participate in and complete any recommended treatment as directed by a Probation Officer.

(4) To attend an alcohol and drug assessment, and attend, participate in and complete any treatment or counselling directed by a Probation Officer.

(5) Not to possess, use, or consume alcohol, controlled drugs or psychoactive substances except controlled drugs prescribed for you by a health professional.

(6) To disclose to a Probation Officer, at the earliest opportunity, details of any intimate relationship which commences, resumes, or terminates.

(7) Not to have contact or otherwise associate with the family of the victim of your offending, directly or indirectly unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(8) Not to enter the South Island, or the Wellington region as defined by a Probation Officer, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(9) To submit to electronic monitoring as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with any conditions relating to your whereabouts.

Mr N Trendle

Panel Convenor