Damien Charles FANTHAM 6/4/2022
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Damien Charles FANTHAM
Hearing: 6 April 2022
At Whanganui Prison via MS Teams
Members of the Board:
Sir Ron Young – Chairperson
Mr L Tawera
Ms F Pimm
In Attendance: [withheld] – Case Manager
Support Persons: [withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Mr Fantham who is 33 years of age was sentenced to five years and 10 months’ imprisonment for manslaughter. His final release date is July 2024. He is 33 years of age. His RoC*RoI is 0.57. Currently, his security classification is high. He has five pages of previous convictions involving drugs, violence and disobedience of Court orders.
- Today on the Parole Board, we are seeing a number of young men who were convicted variously of manslaughter and murder. Mr Fantham was one of those involved.
- We gave him a detailed summary of the submissions made by the victim to the Board before the commencement of the hearing.
- The facts are that Mr Fantham and a number of others, who were members of the Black Power gang, killed a Mongrel Mob member. The Mongrel Mob member had been living in an area in Whanganui that the Black Power viewed as their own. They warned the Mongrel Mob member away from the area that he was living in and they attempted to intimidate him to get him to leave. He refused to do so, and, in a confrontation, two Black Power members took guns, other Black Power members were present, and the Mongrel Mob member was shot and killed.
- Mr Fantham began his prison sentence very poorly. He had 13 misconducts, he tested positive for drugs, he was charged with an assault and threatening behaviour.
- But since November 2021, his behaviour seems to have significantly improved. He is identified to do the Te Tirohanga Programme which will include the full programme.
- Currently, however, it is not possible for Mr Fantham to start that programme because of his high security classification. The PCO indicated that given his recent improvement in conduct, they will be prepared to consider reducing his security classification which currently is not due for review until August of this year. That review, if undertaken, will enable him to get on to the Te Tirohanga programme earlier and come back and see us earlier.
- We have mentioned to Mr Fantham that we consider it unlikely approval to live in Whanganui would be given by the Board and we also raised the possibility of banning him from having contact with either Black Power or Mongrel Mob on release.
- We discussed with him his involvement in gangs and what that had led to the killing.
- In the meantime, he remains an undue risk. We will see him again by April 2023 in the hope he completed his rehabilitation and has a developed release plan.
Sir Ron Young