Nigel Shane JOHNSTONE 28/05/2024

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002


Hearing: 28 May 2024

at Invercargill Prison via MS Teams

Members of the Board:

Sir Ron Young – Chairperson

Prof P Brinded

Mr S Perry

Counsel:  Mr R Eagles

In Attendance: [withheld] - Case Manager

Support Persons: [withheld]


  1. Mr Johnstone is 52 years of age and was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 1996.  His security classification is low medium.  We are told by his corrections officer that that is likely because of his recalls.
  2. Since the murder he had, in 2008, convictions for assault with intent to injure, male assaults female, in 2011 breaches of his release conditions, wounding with intent, male assaults female, three additional charges of male assaults female together with intentional damage and threats to kill.  And more recently in 2023, a threat to kill.  He has had recall applications in 2008, 2011 (two), 2019 and 2023.  There seems to be some debate as to how many recalls he has.  Mr Johnstone says three, Corrections says four.  Either way Mr Johnstone has had multiple recalls, many of which seem to have related to violent offending.
  3. We last saw him in December 2023.  There was a series of incidents relating to his partner and her son where violence charges were laid against Mr Johnstone.  [withheld].  The Board was concerned to understand what happened at the hearing of the criminal charges and the basis of the acquittal on the charges other than the threat to kill.  He was convicted on the threatening to kill charge, that related to the young 17-year-old son of Mr Johnstone’s partner.
  4. We had a psychological report prepared before trial which said further work needed to be done on a one-to-one basis, including the preparation of an appropriate safety plan.  [withheld].
  5. As to the current situation, psychological report noted that Mr Johnstone [withheld]. He tended to minimise the seriousness of the comments he made when he threatened to kill the young 17-year-old boy. The psychologist noted he has a very long history of violent offending.
  6. As to the situation that resulted in the recall, there had been difficulties with his partner and her son and a volatile situation developed when the threat to kill was made.  The psychologist thought that he tended to shift responsibility for the events involving the young boy to the victim and portrayed the sequence of events as based on a misunderstanding.
  7. Today we spoke to both [withheld] and Mr Johnstone about the circumstances that gave rise to the recall.   [withheld].
  8. [withheld].  The choice for the Board today was, at least in part, whether we should ask psychological services to do further one-on-one to work with Mr Johnstone in person or upon his release. Either way [withheld] it looks as though there will be a significant wait for the work to start.  The wait in the community would be more concerning to the Board than the wait in prison, given that an important part of Mr Johnstone’s risk is intended to be addressed by the psychological work.
  9. The other areas we are concerned about relates to Mr Johnstone’s release plan.  His current developed release plan is a 13-week release to [withheld].  We do not think that is adequate.  We consider there needs to be a clear plan as to what will happen after the [withheld] if that is to be the release.  [withheld]. Mr Johnstone therefore needs to develop a specific proposal for his accommodation after the [withheld]. We acknowledge that there has been a suggestion of other accommodation made, which has not been investigated.
  10. [withheld].
  11. Further work is therefore needed for us to be satisfied he is no longer an undue risk.  We will see him again by the end of November 2024 with the hope that progress has been able to be made.

Sir Ron Young