Nika ABRAHAM 07/7/2022
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 7 July 2022
at Spring Hill Correctional Facility via MS Teams
Members of the Board:
Sir Ron Young – Chairperson
Ms T Sharkey
Mr A Hackney
Dr J Skipworth
Counsel: Ms S Gilbert
In Attendance: [withheld] - Case Manager
Support Persons: [withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Mr Abraham, who is 41 years of age, was convicted of murder in 2003 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He had only relatively minor convictions prior to that time.
- We last saw him in October 2021. At that stage he had completed all his rehabilitation programmes. He had done extremely well. He had had a lengthy period of reintegration and we were looking towards a possible release and looking for suitable accommodation. A number of alternatives were suggested: One with [withheld] which we did not think suitable. The second to [withheld], which equally we did not think was appropriate, and so the matter was delayed until today for further consideration of parole.
- As to the current position, as the psychologist noted, Mr Abraham has a very good history at his rehabilitation programmes. He has undertaken reintegration over many years of testing and has never created any real difficulties. He has a strong work ethic and has taken a number of leadership roles within the prison. He has had five guided releases. Until very recently he was on release to work and had again very good feedback from his employer. He had been at the Whare in Spring Hill Prison.
- Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 and staff shortages, the Whare was closed down and Mr Abraham returned to the general prison. This was obviously a significant disappointment to him, but he seems to have coped well. The same position applied with regard to his employment.
- Today Mr Abraham sought release on parole. The proposal is he be released to [withheld]. We had the advantage of talking to [withheld] from [withheld] today and we have background information about the programme that they run. It is a programme that is familiar to us and supported by Corrections. While the standard period is three months release at [withheld], we have stressed that in our view it will be important Mr Abraham take his time at [withheld] and that a period significantly more than the three months is likely to be necessary. He has been in prison now for a long time. He does not have a broad support network in [withheld], and so developing that support network will be important. Mr Abraham told us he hopes to ultimately live in [withheld].
- Mr Abraham does have strong support from his whānau outside of [withheld] and they will wish to participate in his reintegration at [withheld]. And so, we are satisfied now that he is no longer an undue risk and can be released. He will be released on 27 July to allow for sufficient time for victim notification.
- As to the special conditions, we impose those set out in the Parole Assessment Report with the following changes: Firstly, we add in a prohibition against the use of drugs and alcohol. Mr Abraham will understand that he is likely to be randomly tested. Secondly, the electronic monitoring and the curfew itself will be for a period of three months from his release date. Thirdly, we will see him again by way of a monitoring hearing in December to see what progress has been made.
- Finally, we mention media interest. There is a possibility that there will be media interest in Mr Abraham’s release. We think it very important prior to his release he talk with his case manager, with his probation officer and [withheld] to develop a clear strategy about the possible contact with the news media. We encourage Mr Abraham to think carefully about a strategy which would involve him not having contact with the media once he is released from prison.
- The special conditions are:
(1) To reside at [withheld], or at an 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 any tenancy agreement or rules issued by the provider of your approved accommodation.
(3) For three months, 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.
(4) For three months, to submit to electronic monitoring as directed by a Probation Officer and comply with the requirements of partial residential restrictions. To remain at your approved address between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am daily, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer, or as permitted by section 33(4) of the Parole Act 2002.
(5) For three months, to submit to electronic monitoring as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with any conditions relating to your whereabouts.
(6) Not to enter the Auckland, Wellington, Upper Hutt, or Masterton regions, as defined by a Probation Officer in writing unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(7) To attend a psychological assessment and attend, participate in and complete any recommended treatment as directed by a Probation Officer.
(8) To disclose to a Probation Officer, at the earliest opportunity, details of any intimate relationship which commences, resumes, or terminates.
(9) 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.
(10) Not to have contact or otherwise associate, with any victim of your offending, [including previous offending] directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(11) To comply with any direction made under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002 to attend a hearing at a time and place to be notified to you.
(12) Not to possess, use, or consume alcohol, controlled drugs or psychoactive substances except controlled drugs prescribed for you by a health professional.
“Please note: you may be required to undergo a drug or alcohol test and or submit to drug or alcohol monitoring.”
Sir Ron Young