Samuel FAKALAGO 17/2/2021

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002


Hearing: 17 February 2021

at Rimutaka Prison via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Head Office

Members of the Board: Ms M Coleman

Mr A Hackney

Ms M Dodd


  1. Samuel Fakalago, who is 28, appeared before the Board today for further consideration of parole on a three year eight month sentence for aggravated assault, threats to kill or commit grievous bodily harm, obstructing or perverting the course of justice and intentional damage.
  2. The victim of Mr Fakalago’s offending was [withheld].
  3. Mr Fakalago has other convictions for similar offending.  His statutory release date is 4 May 2021.
  4. Mr Fakalago was last before the Board in October 2020.  It noted that he had incurred further misconducts since the previous hearing.  He told the Board that he was being picked on and that he acted in self-defence.  His behaviour had led to him being exited from the DTP.  He was at that point undertaking a short violence prevention programme which he was due to finish at the end of November.  It also said that he needed to complete his programmes, manage his behaviour and develop a robust release proposal.  The Board also noted that a psychological report that had been sought earlier had not been provided and would not be available until mid-January.  It scheduled for him to be seen today.
  5. The Board now has the psychological report.  It is dated January 2020 but the Board understands that that is a mistake and it actually dates from January 2021.
  6. The psychologist states that Mr Fakalago is showing emerging insight into his behaviour and a willingness to examine it.  The psychologist says that should he choose to develop the skills further they are likely to turn into protective factors over time.  Nevertheless, at the time of writing the assessment he was assessed as presenting with a high risk of further violent offending most likely targeted to an intimate partner.
  7. There are a number of recommendations in the report which include that his probation officer should work with him to develop a safety plan around relationship skills and intimate partner violence, that he would benefit from having an informed assessment of his mental health and any medications recommended, and that he continue with [withheld] to assist him to reduce past difficulties.
  8. Mr Fakalago’s current [withheld] was present at the hearing today.  He has been working with him since November 2018 and they are about to complete a wellbeing plan.  Part of that plan is around emotional regulation.  The second goal is to turn negative thinking into positive ways of thinking.  We were advised that there will be a handover to Auckland based counsellors and that Mr Fakalago will be eligible for [withheld] following his release.
  9. Mr Fakalago identifies not taking substances but taking prescribed medication for [withheld] as key to him remaining offence free.  It is concerning therefore that he still makes decisions whether to take his medication or not depending on how he is feeling.  The Board is not sure whether this somewhat ad hoc approach is appropriate and considers that Mr Fakalago would benefit from a [withheld] on release.  That is something he should talk to his probation officer about.
  10. The Board has decided to release Mr Fakalago on parole.  He has an approved address with [withheld].  He has a safety plan which he brought to the hearing today and was able to speak to us about.  He has been doing intensive work with his [withheld] and that support will be ongoing in the community.  In those circumstances, and with less than three months left to run on his sentence, the Board is satisfied that his risk can be managed in the community.
  11. Mr Fakalago will be released on 3 March 2021.  He will be subject to standard and special conditions for six months past his statutory release date.  The exception to this is the curfew which will remain in place until his statutory release date only.
  12. One of the conditions is that he is not to possess or consume alcohol or drugs.  Mr Fakalago was advised at today’s hearing that his compliance with that condition can be monitored once he is in the community.
  13. The Board has also imposed a condition that he not associate with members of King Cobra.  He was clear today that his association with members of the gang is a high risk for him.  That said, he has [withheld] who [withheld] and the imposition of that condition is not intended to prevent [withheld].  That will be a matter he will need to manage with his probation officer.
  14. The special conditions are as follows

(1) To reside at [withheld] 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) Until your statutory release date, to remain at your approved address between the hours of 10.00 pm and 6:00 am daily.

(3) 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 communicate or associate, directly or indirectly, with any person known to you to associate with the King Cobras unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

“Please note: you may be required to undergo a drug or alcohol test and or submit to drug or alcohol monitoring.”

Ms M Coleman

Panel Convenor