Pasilika NAUFAHU 10/5/2022
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 10 May 2022
at Auckland Prison
Members of the Board: N Trendle – Panel Convenor
Mr P Elenio
Dr S Davis
Counsel: Mr R Mansfield QC
In Attendance: [withheld] - Principal Case Manager
Support Persons: [withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Pasilika Naufahu is making his first appearance before the Board on a sentence totalling nine years three months imprisonment for participating in an organised criminal group, conspiring to deal in a Class B controlled drug, money laundering, unlawful possession of ammunition and assault. He becomes eligible for parole on 11 May 2022 and he has a statutory release date of 7 July 2026.
- Mr Naufahu has a short New Zealand offending history of a single conviction prior to his index offending leading to a RoC*RoI of .25932. He has however a significant number of convictions in Australia although somewhat historical and he was also convicted of assaulting another offender while on this sentence.
- The offending that brought him to prison concerned Mr Naufahu’s participation in a significant drug dealing conspiracy. He was identified as the president of the Comancheros Motorcycle Club and in sentencing the judge noted his leading role in the criminal organisation involved in the laundering of money derived most likely from the sale of drugs. Although he denied involvement in drug dealing, the Judge observed that the jury’s verdict made it clear that he was involved in the purchase of pseudoephedrine for the purposes of supply on at least one occasion. He was involved in drug dealing activity that he conducted from a distance using intermediaries and agents to minimise the risk of his offending being detected.
- Mr Mansfield QC appeared as counsel and forwarded two sets of written submissions to the Board. In his initial submissions he referred to Mr Naufahu’s efforts to complete rehabilitation activities prior to his first appearance before the Board and his lack of progress. That, he submitted, was a cause for frustration on both his and counsel’s part. Mr Mansfield also filed a longer submission supporting Mr Naufahu’s release on parole.
- The parole assessment report identified Mr Naufahu as initially sentence planned to participate in the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme. An addendum received shortly before the hearing indicated that he had been assessed as not suitable for that programme. The Principal Case Manager who attended the hearing advised the Board that initially Mr Naufahu was planned to participate in the programme along with other members of a cohort who had a similar profile. For reasons connected with the restrictions arising from the COVID pandemic that programme did not commence. The case manager was now awaiting advice from a psychologist as to the appropriate pathway.
- For his part Mr Naufahu voiced his ongoing commitment to his family. He conceded to making several poor decisions. He said that he had reflected on that and worked with a counsellor on developing a safety plan. He told us that he was aware from the proposals in the parole assessment report that when he leaves prison he would not be able to associate with those involved with the Comancheros Motorcycle Club.
- So far as his release plan is concerned the Board notes he has approved accommodation and adequate support. That support was reflected in the attendance of [withheld] and other supporters. it was also reflected in a number of “character references” from other prisoners at Auckland Prison
- Despite his criticism of the prison in failing to provide afford Mr Naufahu access to a psychologist to identify his rehabilitation pathway, Mr Mansfield acknowledged that the Board may require a psychological report. He maintained, however, the submission that Mr Naufahu was ready for parole for the reasons set out in the second of his written submissions.
- We do not accept the starting point for those submissions that as Mr Naufahu was now at the lowest security classification level, he had been determined as being at low risk of reoffending and should be seen by the Board as being ideally placed for parole. In terms of section 7(3) of the Parole Act 2002, when the Board assess his risk to the safety of the community, we must consider both the likelihood of further offending and the nature and seriousness of any likely subsequent offending. We fall well short on both counts of being satisfied that he meets the statutory criteria for release on parole, particularly having regard to his level of culpability in what is clear from the Judge’s comments in sentencing as to his role in serious and sophisticated offending.
- As we discussed with Mr Mansfield the Board needs specialist assistance in determining the way forward. We tend to share the view that rehabilitation activity at a far higher level of intensity than that provided by the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme is required in Mr Naufahu’s case to mitigate his risk of reoffending, notwithstanding his low RoC*RoI score
- We decline to direct his release on parole today. Mr Naufahu will be scheduled to return to the Board in four months, by 30 September 2022. For that hearing the Board would be assisted by a psychological assessment of his risk with recommendations as to the appropriate rehabilitation and reintegration pathway.