Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Laura Elizabeth CILLIERS
Hearing: 1 February 2017 at New Zealand Parole Board, Head Office, Wellington via AVL to [Withheld]
Members of the Board:
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Laura Cilliers, aged 35, is serving a seven year, 10 month sentence for importing heroin. She is approaching her parole eligibility date on 4 February. Her RoC*RoI is 0.178, low/medium security classification and no previous criminal convictions.
2. Ms Cilliers is South African and the circumstances of the importation were that she swallowed 99 pellets of heroin in Cambodia and this was discovered when she arrived in Christchurch. The value of the drug was in the region of $1 million. The sentencing Judge took a starting point of 13 years’ imprisonment.
3. Ms Cilliers has engaged well in programmes in the prison, completing AOD 2, 3 and 4 and the SRP and the maintenance. She got a glowing report from the accompanying corrections officer who attested to her gaining confidence and developing her communication skills. She has been a good worker in the kitchen, in the distribution centre and now in the horticultural area and has gained a number of qualifications.
4. The offending occurred with a partner whom she had married as a convenience so that he could enter South Africa. That partner is currently serving a sentence, Ms Cilliers told us, in South America, she thought in Lima, Peru, and she has no contact with him.
5. Ms Cilliers spoke frankly to the Board about the spur for her involvement in the drug world and ultimately this offending. Her husband died when their child was some three weeks old. She turned to drugs and in due course met this other person who became a co-offender. She was able to talk to the Board about learnings from the programmes and she has also, during her time in New Zealand, improved her English, being a native Afrikaans speaker.
6. On her return to South Africa she would go to live with [Withheld] in an area far away from where she had previously been. [Withheld] She has the possibility of employment with [Withheld], but also hopes to perhaps get a job in the mines because she has forklift and other qualifications. It was clear to the Board that she had not been living with family during the period of this offending, or indeed the year preceding it.
7. Ms Cilliers impressed the Board as a person who has faced important issues and learnt strategies from the programmes she has engaged in. We are satisfied that if released and deported back to South Africa at this stage in her sentence she would not present an undue risk to that community.
8. Her release date will be [Withheld] March 2017, which should allow sufficient time for the authorities to organise the deportation.
9. She is to remain in the custody of the Department of Corrections until [Withheld] March or earlier date depending on travel arrangements. She will be transferred into the custody of the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Immigration Services for deportation from New Zealand. The following special conditions are:
(1) To be released into the custody of the New Zealand Immigration authorities, or the New Zealand Police for deportation from New Zealand.
(2) Not to return to New Zealand before sentence end date 25 February 2022.
Judge A Kiernan