Geordy Peter Brian JOHNSTONE 4/5/2022

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Geordy Peter Brian JOHNSTONE

Hearing: 04 May 2022

at Rolleston Prison Via MS Teams

Members of the Board: Judge G F Ellis (Panel Convenor)

Dr G Coyle

Ms M Dodd

Counsel:                                           M Starling

In Attendance:                                  [withheld]

DECISION OF THE BOARD

  1. Geordy Peter Brian Johnstone, aged 27, is serving a sentence of three years and three months’ imprisonment following conviction on 28 charges of possession of objectionable child exploitation material.
  2. He reached parole eligibility on 21 September 2020 and his sentence expiry date is 21 November 2022.  He had 5,681 objectionable images on his Internet-cable devices.  The majority of them in category A; that is the most objectionable category depicting violation of infants and young children.
  3. He has one prior conviction for an indecent assault on a boy under 12 and was sentenced to home detention in February 2017.  The index offending started soon after the completion of that sentence.
  4. Mr Johnstone was last before the Board on 9 November 2021.  He was then in the process of completing the Special Treatment Unit for Child Sex Offenders.  He was said to be engaging well.  He had been accepted for PARS accommodation.  The Board made it clear he needed to complete that programme and return with a release proposal.
  5. The Parole Assessment Report now before us advises us that he completed the core programme of the STU:CSO in late November 2021 and he progressed to the graduates group in January 2022.
  6. He has been employed in the Rolleston construction yard since June 2021 as a plasterer-painter with very positive reports on his work and attitude.  When the construction yard was closed for COVID-19 reasons he volunteered to work in the nursery.
  7. There are very positive reports on his presentation and conduct in prison.  He is described as polite, respectful and compliant.  The attending PCO said that he has been very compliant and she commented on his volunteering to work on the nursery, where he is reported to have a good work ethic, and is polite to staff and others.
  8. The PAR notes that Mr Johnstone is taking medication for anxiety and depression.
  9. He had written a letter to the Board confirming his completion of the programme and his graduation and he had had a meeting with his supporters on 23 March.  That was confirmed by the attending reintegration co-ordinator, although the Board had noted that there were no family members present at that meeting.
  10. We discussed with Mr Johnstone the possibility of a further reintegration or family hui either before or immediately following his release to involve specific family members whom he has identified as supportive, including his grandmother, and that was also supported by the reintegration co-ordinator.
  11. Mr Johnstone has accommodation available to him through Otago PARS-supported accommodation now available at [withheld], Dunedin, from 31 May 2022.
  12. Mr Johnstone was represented by counsel. Mr Starling appeared and confirmed that Mr Johnstone was seeking parole and he supported the availability of a bed with PARS from 31 May, stressing that that is supported accommodation which will assist Mr Johnstone’s transition to the community.
  13. Counsel noted that by the time of his release Mr Johnstone will have about six months left to serve on his sentence of three years and three months and that would be followed by six months of conditions after sentence expiry date.  Counsel emphasised that all reports have been excellent and that he has used his time constructively.
  14. Counsel acknowledged that Mr Johnstone has been assessed for an ESO, but as yet there had been no word on whether an application would be made. The release co-ordinator was able to tell us that a decision has in fact been made for an ESO application, but no timeline is yet available on that.
  15. After consideration of all of the material before us and hearing from counsel and from Mr Johnstone himself, we are satisfied that despite concern over the lack of family and community support the availability of the PARS-supported accommodation and the release proposal put before us offers sufficient mitigation of his risk to support release on a period of electronically monitored conditions to test his progress.
  16. Accordingly, Mr Johnstone is to be released on 31 May.  He will be subject to standard and special conditions for up to six months past his statutory release date.  The conditions will be as proposed in the PAR, with the addition of a reintegration meeting to include his family and community supporters.
  17. The special conditions are:

(1) To reside at [withheld], Dunedin, 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 comply with the requirements of electronic monitoring and provide unimpeded access to your approved residence by a Probation Officer and/or representatives of the monitoring company for the purpose of maintaining the electronic monitoring equipment as directed by a Probation Officer.

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

(4) Not to enter or loiter near any school, early childhood education centre, park, library, swimming pool, other recreational facility, church, or other area specified in writing by a Probation Officer, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer, or unless an adult approved by a Probation Officer in writing, is present.

(5) Not to have contact or otherwise associate, with a person under the age of 16 years, directly or indirectly unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer, or unless you are under the supervision and in the presence of an adult approved in writing by a Probation Officer.

(6) Not to possess or use any electronic device capable of accessing the internet or capturing, storing, accessing, or distributing images (including without limitation any personal computers notebooks tablets or cell phones) without the prior written approval from a Probation Officer.

(7) Upon request, to make available to a Probation Officer, or his or her agent, any electronic device capable of accessing the internet or capturing, storing, accessing or distributing images that is used by you, or is in your possession or control, for the purpose of monitoring your use of the device.

(8) To attend, participate in and complete STU CSO Maintenance sessions as directed by a Probation Officer.

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

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

(11) To attend a reintegration meeting as directed by a Probation Officer.

(12) You are not to have any physical contact with any domestic animal, except in the presence and under the direct supervision of an adult who has been approved in writing by a Probation Officer.

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

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

(15) To obtain the written approval of a Probation Officer before starting or changing your position and/or place of employment (including voluntary and unpaid work). To notify a Probation Officer if you leave your position of employment.

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

Judge G F Ellis

Panel Convenor