Julianna Shontel NUKU 10/04/2024

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Julianna Shontel NUKU

Hearing: 10 April 2024

at Auckland Region Womens Corrections Facility

via MS Teams

Members of the Board:

Sir Ron Young – Chairperson

Mr P Elenio

Dr J Skipworth

In Attendance: [withheld] - Case Manager

Support Persons: [withheld]


  1. Ms Nuku who is 67 years of age was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.  The murder occurred in 2004 and the sentencing in 2005.  Prior to that Ms Nuku had 96 convictions for various kinds of dishonesty going back to the late 1979.
  2. We last saw her in May 2023.  At that stage she had made progress on a number of issues identified by the Board.  She engaged in trauma counselling.  She completed a gambling counselling course and had a drug and alcohol intensive programme, and she was engaging with a psychologist.  She hoped ultimately to be released to parole.
  3. We thought there was some gaps in her release proposal.  We did not think her safety plan properly identified all of her risks and then after we were satisfied her rehabilitation had been completed significant reintegrative testing would likely be required.  She was assessed at being a high risk of general re-offending given a long career of deceitful conduct.
  4. At the current position the psychologist noted that she accepted responsibility for her offending and made no effort to minimise or rationalise her role in the murder.  Overall, in prison she was generally seen as polite and co-operative in prison working in the distribution centre with rubbish and recycling.
  5. She was an approved shopper for self-care and went to supermarkets on a regular basis.
  6. There were however several incidents concern to us.  The psychological report noted that she can be aggressive towards staff particularly when she does not get her way.  It is said that she manhandled another offender when they got into the van.  The suggestion was that women was taking Ms Nuku’s place at the window of the van when she was manhandled.  When she had a guided release and met her son for lunch the café didn’t have the food that either she or her son liked, and she had to stand in the que.  Her behaviour was then passive aggressive and said to be rude.  In addition, there was an incident standing in the queue at IRD with other men when she acted poorly.
  7. When we asked Ms Nuku about some of these events, she typically provided a long explanation as to why really none of them were her responsibility.  Although when challenged about this she repeated that she was responsible for them.  We did not find her responses convincing. We consider that she does have entitlement issues that she does struggle to accept responsibility for what she has done.
  8. Another example more fundamental was her assertion at the beginning of the hearing that it was not her who committed the murder.  That claim could easily have been understood as a denial of her involvement in the murder.  When she was challenged she said she committed the crime but it was another person inside her.  That assertion could be seen as avoiding responsibility for the crime and not facing the high risks arising from the offending.
  9. We also asked her about whether she owed any money, relevant to her risks.  She said she had reparation owing of [withheld] which she claimed she had only recently discovered.  Although her claim of recent discovery may be possible, we thought it was unlikely given it would relate to reparation ordered by the Court some considerable time ago.  In any event she told us she had a plan that she had developed for paying back the reparation. However, when questioned about the plan it was evident to us that she really did not have a plan but that she had simply said when confronted with how she would pay that reparation that she offered $50 a week.
  10. We consider there is further reintegration work to be done and further testing.  As we have said to Ms Nuku, she needs to understand she is a very unusual offender.  There are very few women who have a long history of dishonesty and breaches of court conditions and court orders and then murder a man for economic advantage by beating him to death and then stealing his cheque book and writing out fraudulent checks.
  11. In addition to the reintegrative testing we want her to develop her safety plan so that it d reflects the risks arising from her offending.  We do not consider that she has prepared a clear straightforward plan with her high risks and her strategies to deal with those high risks in a coherent way.
  12. We also think that release to work would be good for her.  We mentioned some time ago that we thought long term reintegrative testing was important.  We have had some testing and at times Ms Nuku has come up short.
  13. The other advantage of the release to work will be that she will improve her opportunity to pay the reparation she owes.
  14. While we are not at all against a release to [withheld], we consider Ms Nuku is not quite ready for that release currently.  We will see her again therefore by the end of December 2024.

Sir Ron Young