Taite Hemi KUPA 19/7/2021
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Taite Hemi KUPA
Hearing: 19 July 2021
at Auckland South Corrections Facility via AVL to New Zealand Parole Offices, Wellington
Members of the Board: Judge G F Ellis (Panel Convenor)
Mr S Perry
Mr B McMurray
In attendance: (withheld) Case Manager
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Taite Hemi Kupa is serving a sentence of 14 years and six months’ imprisonment having been found guilty at trial on multiple charges of rape, unlawful sexual connection with a female over 16 and also of a female under 16, male assaults female, numerous assaults on a child and other attempted sexual offences. The Court of Appeal noted 11 counts of sexual offending against two young females and 10 charges of assault against six children under the age of 14.
- At the time of the offending Mr Kupa and his wife were approved [withheld] caregivers. All the complainants were living at the Kupa home when he offended against them.
- Mr Kupa has only three previous convictions from 1978 and they all appear to be driving offences.
- His underlying risk factors are identified as propensity for violence, attitudes and offending related sexual arousal. The reports indicate that alcohol and drugs were not a factor.
- Mr Kupa was subject to a minimum non-parole period of seven years and three months which period expires on 30 July 2021. This was, therefore, his first appearance before the Parole Board. His sentence expiry date is 28 October 2028.
- Mr Kupa had filed a personal submission on 7 June 2021 in which he stated that he intends to disregard all parole opportunities until the New Zealand Courts apologise to him. He noted that he intends to take legal action against various persons including the judges involved in the proceedings; that he will not do any programmes; and that he is seeking a review of his case by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Mr Kupa, when invited to engage with the Board at this hearing, read a further personal statement to the same effect.
- The Board has a Parole Assessment Report (PAR) that confirms that he maintains his innocence and says that he is preparing a further appeal. We are aware that an appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed and so we take it that this further reference is either an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and/or perhaps an application to the Governor General for executive clemency which he referred to in his personal submission.
- The PAR confirms also that Mr Kupa meets the criteria for a short intervention programme for child sex offenders but advises that he is not interested. Nevertheless, he remains waitlisted for that identified programme.
- Mr Kupa has been involved in music production within the prison but has not undertaken any other training or educational courses.
- Mr Kupa has a low statistically assessed risk of re-offending (RoC*Rol 0.20519). He is on a Minimum security classification. There have been no incidents or misconducts reported. He has an ASRS score of 1.
- The Parole Assessment Report also advises that Mr Kupa had proposed an address with (withheld) who he says “support his appeal.” We took that to mean that they share his assertion of his innocence of any wrongdoing.
- He was a qualified teacher. He has support from his immediate family and whānau.
- Prior to the hearing the Board had met with one of his victims and representatives of other child victims who had made known to the Board their views about his offending and his need for serious rehabilitation. The views expressed by the victims and their representatives were passed on to Mr Kupa as they had requested.
- Mr Kupa did not specifically respond to the submissions we had received from victims but, when he was referred to the suggested special conditions in the parole assessment report, he asserted that there were no victims of his offending because he did not offend as charged.
- Mr Kupa appears before the Board as an untreated sexual offender and abuser of children in circumstances of gross breach of trust. It is the Board’s view on all the material currently before it that he continues to pose an undue risk to the safety of the community and in particular any children who might come within his care.
- It was explained to Mr Kupa at the outset of the hearing that it is not the function of the Board to determine his guilt or innocence, but to deal with him as a convicted offender subject to sentence and to assess his risk to the community were he to be released. Given Mr Kupa’s adamant opposition to acceptance of any degree of offending, his apparent determination to avoid any rehabilitative treatment, and his stated disregard for any opportunities for parole, it is difficult for the Board to see how he can reduce that risk within the foreseeable future.
- In the circumstances parole is declined. The Board will see Mr Kupa again in two years, a date to be set before 19 July 2023. Before his next appearance it will be appropriate for there to be a psychological assessment of Mr Kupa and a recommendation of any treatment steps then considered appropriate.
Judge G F Ellis