John Harold LA ROCHE 29/4/2022

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

John Harold LA ROCHE

Hearing: 29 April 2022

at Waikeria Prison via MS Teams

Members of the Board: Sir Ron Young – Chairperson

Ms M Kleist

Ms C Tiumalu

Dr J Skipworth

Counsel: Mr D Allan

In Attendance:                                  [withheld] – Case Manager


  1. Mr La Roche, who is 77 years of age, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 1998.  His security classification is minimum.  Prior to that he had one-page of convictions primarily relating to family issues, assaults and breaches of protection orders.
  2. We last saw him in May 2020.  At that stage Mr La Roche had had no rehabilitative risk-based treatment.  He had effectively declined to engage in any treatment.  There were a number of roadblocks to treatment.  Mr La Roche was noted as making a number of threats to his life if no parole was granted.
  3. As to the current position, the psychologist noted that Mr La Roche has now agreed to be placed on the waitlist for treatment although he has told his Case Manager he is reluctant to engage.  Today when we spoke to Mr La Roche.  He repeated the view that he would be happy to speak to anybody, but it is clear to us that he does not believe that he has any issues that would require any form of rehabilitative risk-based treatment.  He takes the view that there were reasons why he killed his ex-partner, relating to the consumption of a prescribed drug.  Once he stopped taking the drug, he has behaved perfectly well in prison and, as he said, was perhaps the best-behaved person he knew in prison.
  4. As the PAR noted, Mr La Roche remains resistant to treatment.  Perhaps surprisingly, [withheld] have offered Mr La Roche accommodation at their residence.  It is surprising because Mr La Roche has no safety plan and is untreated and assessed at moderate high risk of violent re-offending.
  5. Today, through counsel, he sought parole.  Mr Allan submitted that he could be granted parole because his risk was sufficiently reduced by virtue of the special conditions that could be imposed in the accommodation at [withheld].
  6. We are satisfied that Mr La Roche remains an undue risk and we are satisfied that given his medium/high risk of violent re-offending that he cannot be released until he completes appropriate risk-based rehabilitation or he has a release arrangement that would satisfy us that he is no longer an undue risk.  It is worth noting from the 2018 report from Corrections’ psychologists some of the problems relating to Mr La Roche’s personality which is relevant to our assessment.  [withheld] noted that Mr La Roche had significant barriers to achieving gains through treatment because of his aberrant personality features, cognitive inflexibility, poor insight, problematic stress management strategies and low intrinsic motivation to undertake any such rehabilitation.  In addition the Parole Assessment Report confirmed the view previously expressed relating to Mr La Roche that if things do not go his way and he cannot get his own way then he can often resort to threats of self-harm and on other occasions threats to others.
  7. We are satisfied therefore he remains an undue risk for the reasons we have given.  Currently he needs to try and work on risk-based rehabilitation.
  8. If, instead, he wishes to try to identify appropriate accommodation for any release then that would require a very high level of risk-based control to adequately meet his risk.  However, as a minimum, he would likely need to develop a safety plan.  It is difficult to see in the current situation that such accommodation would be available to Mr La Roche.  In the meantime, he remains an undue risk.  We will see him again by the end of March 2024.

Sir Ron Young