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HEALY - Elizabeth Mary - 30/03/2016

 

Parole hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

 

Elizabeth Mary HEALY


Hearing: 30 March 2016   via AVL from NZPB Head Office, (withheld) to  (withheld)Prison
 
Members of the Board: 

      Hon. M A Frater – Panel Convenor
      Dr J Skipworth
      Mr B McMurray
      Ms M Coleman

Counsel:  

      (withheld)

In attendance:

      (withheld) (Department – Psychologist)

Support People:  
      (withheld)

 

DECISION OF THE BOARD


1. We saw Elizabeth Mary Healy today to consider whether to re-release her on parole.  She is serving a life sentence of imprisonment for murdering a young child in her care.

2. The crime was committed on 4 January 1997.  Ms Healy was first paroled on 6 March 2013.  She has been back in custody for some 18 months now.

3. An interim recall order was made on 26 September 2014 followed by a final order on 6 November.

4. After separate defended hearings in the District Court, Ms Healy was acquitted of breaching her special conditions not to possess or consume alcohol or illicit drugs and not to associate or otherwise have contact with any person under 16 years of age unless in the presence of an approved adult over 20.

5. Today, she sought to be re-released on parole.

6. Her last hearing was on 2 April 2015.  At that stage she did not seek parole.  However, the Board was not prepared to accede to her counsel’s request that the matter simply be adjourned until shortly after the outstanding charges were determined on 2 June.

7. Having regard to Ms Healy’s abysmal performance on parole in 2014, the Board considered that more needed to be done than simply holding a reintegration hui to assist in formulating a safety plan.  Rather, they said that intensive psychological counselling and assistance was required to enable Ms Healy to honestly recognise her risks and address the serious situations that were emerging during her time on parole.  They expressed the view that if the recall had not occurred, there was a real danger of significant harm developing.

8. We are pleased to note that in the past year, Ms Healy has been able to access the requisite psychological treatment.  She resumed work with (withheld) in June 2015 and has met with her regularly ever since.  The treatment has focused on identifying and exploring the internal barriers (e.g. thought patterns, emotions and coping strategies) that impeded Ms Healy putting her safety plan into practice following her last release.

9. Her plan has been updated to reflect this work.  Overall, the treatment seems to have been positive, resulting in identifiable changes in Ms Healy’s attitude and behaviour, which she was able to discuss with us today. 

10. Ms Healy is fortunate to have a very strong support network.  Of course, all of these people were there when she was released the first time, and they continued to be there for her during the following months.

11. But she chose to distance herself from them.  She assured us that she will not do so if released again.  And, more importantly, her supporters were clear that they will not allow her to do so.  They will not hesitate to contact her probation officer if they observe any behaviours indicating an elevation in her risk.

12. Since her recall, Ms Healy’s supporters have met with her and with each other on a regular basis.  The meetings have taken place within the prison.  So far, there have been eight of them.  They have been useful. 

13. For the past year or so, Ms Healy has been employed in the kitchen.  This has been six days a week job.

14. She has received very positive file notes for her behaviour, work ethic and standards.  She has completed a wide range of level one to four NZQA standards and also completed barista training.  She has also completed an AoD course.

15. She proposes living with  (withheld) following release. (withheld) is a long term supporter and friend of Ms Healy, and her home has been deemed suitable for release purposes.  There are no children there and she has drawn up a contract setting out the proposed living arrangements and house rules.

16. Her friends and former employers, (withheld) have offered to re-employ her.  They will provide a safe environment without access to children, which has been approved by Community Corrections.

17. Ms Healy says she welcomes to ability to continue with psychological treatment with  (withheld)in the community. 

18. She will also undertake an assessment and treatment for alcohol and illegal drug issues.  Ms Healy acknowledges that when she was under added stress as a result of pain in her hands and following (withheld) death, and things began to unravel, she drank excessive amounts of alcohol.

19. She said that she is committed to remaining alcohol and drug free in the future and indeed for the rest of her life.

20. She also expressed a willingness and an ability to abide by a condition prohibiting her from having contact with children and adolescents under the age of 16 years without an approved adult being present and agrees to conditions requiring her to comply with electronic monitoring and prohibiting her from entering Christchurch City without the prior written consent of her probation officer.

21. Ms Healy’s registered victim remains, understandably, opposed to her release.  She is extremely concerned that Ms Healy continues to deny (withheld) and believes that she continues to pose a threat to other young children.  However, in the event that Ms Healy were released, the victim asked that she be made subject to the same conditions she was released upon initially, including the prohibitions on contact with children and entering Christchurch.

22. Ms Healy is in a much stronger position now than a year ago.  She has worked hard on her release plan.  She understands her risks and has a very strong but realistic support network.  Provided she adheres to her safety plan and the conditions which we will impose, we are satisfied that her risk of reoffending can be mitigated in the community to the point where it is no longer undue.

23. Accordingly, she will be released on parole on (withheld) next.  Thereafter, she will of course be subject to the standard conditions set out in section 14 of the Parole Act 2002 for life.  Unless otherwise specified, she will also be subject to the following special conditions for five years post release.

24. To reflect the victim’s concerns, the conditions about entering Christchurch and the prohibition on contact with under age children and possessing or consuming alcohol or illicit drugs will continue for life.

25. Given her previous failure on parole and the nature of the crime that she was convicted of, we are also imposing a monitoring condition. 

26. The special conditions are:
   (1) To attend an assessment for alcohol and drug use. To attend and complete any counselling programme or treatment, if and as recommended by the assessment to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and programme provider. Details of the appropriate programme to be determined by your Probation Officer.
   (2) To attend for a psychological assessment. Attend and complete any treatment/counselling as recommended by the psychological assessment to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and treatment provider.
   (3) To reside at  (withheld) and not to move from that or any other approved address, or any subsequent address without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
   (4) To gain prior written approval of your Probation Officer before starting, terminating or changing your position or place of employment. This includes volunteer work.
   (5) For the rest of your life, not to associate or otherwise have contact with any person under 16 years of age or younger unless another adult, over the age of 20 years who has previously been approved in writing by your Probation Officer, is present.
   (6) For the rest of your life, not to have contact or otherwise associate with the victim(s) of your offending, or members of their family, directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written consent of your Probation Officer.
   (7) Not to enter Christchurch City without the prior written permission of a Probation Officer.
   (8) Not to enter the suburb of Ebdentown, Upper Hutt, as defined in writing by your Probation Officer, without the prior written permission of a Probation Officer.
   (9) For the rest of your life, not to possess or consume alcohol or illicit drugs.
   (10) Upon release from prison, to go directly to your approved address and await a representative of the monitoring company and your Probation Officer.
   (11) To comply with the requirements of electronic monitoring, and provide access to the approved residence to the Probation Officer and representatives of the monitoring company, for the purpose of maintaining the electronic monitoring equipment as directed by the Probation Officer.
   (12) To submit to electronic monitoring in the form of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with any condition(s) relating to your whereabouts and, when issued a mobile cell phone device by the Department, to carry and keep it charged and turned on at all times and to answer it for the purpose of communications with the Probation Officer.
   (13) To attend a hearing in October 2016, notified to you in writing and in accordance with any directions given by the New Zealand Parole Board to enable the New Zealand Parole Board to monitor your compliance with your release conditions.

 

Hon. M A Frater
Panel Convenor