Response to Department’s independent review

A statement from Sir Ron Young, Chair – New Zealand Parole Board

29 March 2023

I have had the opportunity to consider the review and its findings.

Nothing in the review has changed my opinion that the information provided to the Parole Board at the October 2021 hearing was inadequate and inaccurate.

The key points are clear:

  • At the June 2021 parole hearing, there was common understanding between the Board and Corrections that Mr Brider would be released to the Salisbury Street Foundation
  • In August 2021 the Foundation advised Corrections that they would have a release date for Mr Brider at the October parole hearing.
  • In August 2021, the Department contacted the Foundation and cancelled the referral
  • At the October 2021 hearing, the Department advised the Board that no room was available at the Foundation and that therefore another accommodation provider was proposed
  • The Board was not informed that the lack of accommodation at the Foundation was the result of Department cancelling the referral.

As a result of the above, the Board’s decision-making was compromised.

I am confident there was no intent to mislead the Board, but through the omission of critical information that was the outcome.

I therefore appreciate the acknowledgement by the Department’s Chief Executive today that the Parole Board would have benefited from being explicitly advised about the cancellation of the referral to the Foundation.

The Parole Board relies on accurate information from the Department to guide its decisions. The relationship between the two must therefore be one of absolute trust.

My priority now is to work with the Chief Executive of the Department and his team to ensure the Board’s information needs and expectations are clearly understood.

Our thoughts are again today with the family and friends of Juliana Bonilla Herrera and I reiterate the Board’s profound sympathy to them for the dreadful tragedy that occurred.

…. ends