Nicholas Gavin LOPER 07/05/2024

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Nicholas Gavin LOPER

Hearing: 7 May 2024

at Otago Corrections Facility

Members of the Board:

Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor

Ms C Tiumalu

Mr L Tawera

Counsel: Ms C Andersen

In Attendance: [withheld] – Case Manager

Support people: [withheld]


  1. Nicholas Gavin Loper is serving a sentence of two years five months’ imprisonment for serious violent offending against [withheld].  His statutory release date is 29 August 2025.
  2. When Mr Loper appeared before the Board in January this year, he had completed both phases of the Drug Treatment Programme.  A psychological assessment was requested.  That assessment is with us today.  it refers to a period of offending against his victim over a twelve-month period.  The psychologist assessed Mr Loper as being at low risk of violent re-offending, but that risk would be elevated in the context of an intimate partner relationship.
  3. Mr Loper was represented by his counsel, Ms Andersen, who made written and oral submissions in support of his release on parole.  She referred to the psychological report which outlined the reasons why it was not appropriate for Mr Loper to participate in the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme and that his risk was more appropriately addressed by a Stopping Violence Programme.  That programme would be available to him in the community after a two-week period.  It was unlikely to be available in the prison for two months.  She submitted that Mr Loper would have the benefit of engaging in that programme in a practical sense and in a safe way with [withheld].
  4. When released, Mr Loper was proposing to live in [withheld] Dunedin in a property jointly owned with [withheld] with whom he has not lived in the past.  [withheld]. He will have employment with [withheld].
  5. Prior to the hearing the Board met with Mr Loper’s victim, who made the comment that he had not taken responsibility for his offending, [withheld]l.  She said that he had the opportunity to engage in the Stopping Violence Programme before he came to prison but did not do so.  He should not be permitted to enter [withheld] when he was released from prison.
  6. Mr Loper read a prepared statement to the Board.  In the course of his discussion with us, he conceded the victim’s comments about his approach to the restorative justice meeting, observing that at the time of the meeting he had not grasped the enormity of his offending.  He told us that he had since acknowledged the reality of that offending through his time in prison and the programme he had completed.
  7. It is common ground that Mr Loper needs to engage in the Stopping Violence Programme and as counsel acknowledged, it is a question of whether that should be done in the community or in prison.  In the Board’s view it should commence in prison with the availability of it being completed in the community.
  8. Although we note Mr Loper has completed a relapse prevention plan, we do not have a safety plan identifying the risk situations with respect to an intimate relationship, the warning signs and the strategies he would deploy to keep any future partner safe.  We regard that as an initial step which can be supplemented by commencing the work with the violence counsellor.  Until that work is commenced and reported on to the Board, we could not be satisfied that his risk was manageable in the community.
  9. Parole is accordingly declined.  Mr Loper will return to the Board in three months, by 31 August 2024.  We anticipate he will have commenced the Stopping Violence Programme and an interim report on his progress would be helpful.  The Board would also be assisted by a copy of his safety plan.

Mr N Trendle

Panel Convenor