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MARSH - Gresham Kirsten Leith - 29/06/2016

Parole hearing

Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

Gresham Kirsten Leith MARSH

Hearing: 29 June 2016 via AVL from [Withheld]

Members of the Board:

  • Hon. M A Frater – Panel Convenor
  • Dr J Skipworth
  • Mr J Thomson  
  • Mr D Hauraki

In attendance:

  • [Withheld]

Support People:  

  • [Withheld]
  • [Withheld]
  • [Withheld]

DECISION OF THE BOARD

1. Gresham Marsh is serving a life sentence of imprisonment for murder.  He has been in prison now for 22 years.

2. During that time he has undertaken a number of interventions to assist him to identify and address the causes of his offending.  The most recent was the STURP programme which he graduated from at the end of October last year.

3. When he appeared before the Board last year the focus of discussion concerned the appropriate reintegrative pathway for him.  He expressed a preference to live with his long-term sponsors in [Withheld], whereas Corrections’ preferred option in the event that he satisfactorily completed all necessary rehabilitative activities and met the criteria for release, was release and reintegration through the services and support provided by [Withheld].  And the Board urged Mr Marsh not to reject [Withheld], as a release option.

4. Although Mr Marsh applied to [Withheld], it is fair to say that he did not do so particularly enthusiastically.  Today he explained why that is not his preferred option.  Quite simply, he would not feel safe in that environment.  And he made that clear to [Withheld] and [Withheld]  when he was able to discuss his application with them a few weeks ago.  As a result his application has been declined.

5. Mr Marsh retains the strong support of [Withheld] and [Withheld] who have worked with him for many years now.  [Withheld] falls into the same category.  He offers not only his own support, but also that of his church congregation.

6. [Withheld] and [Withheld] have offered to accommodate Mr Marsh in [Withheld].  He would have separate accommodation but would share a daily meal with them and would be very much part of their household.  [Withheld], in particular, has considerable experience in dealing with released prisoners.  Based on that experience, she and [Withheld] have drawn up a list of household rules which Mr Marsh would be subject to, if he was released to live with them.

7. Mr Marsh sought to be released on parole today, but with a date for release set some three months hence.  His reason for making that request was reasonable.  He accepts that he would benefit from a series of one to one psychological treatment to build on and reinforce the work which he did in the STURP programme.  He would also value the opportunity of getting to know his probation officer, and for that person and [Withheld] and [Withheld]  and his other supporters to meet together, along with Mr Marsh’s psychologist, to discuss his high risk situations and strategies for dealing with them.  Such meetings would also assist the parties to work together and to build trust and communication.

8. Another outstanding matter concerns residential restrictions and GPS monitoring.  A residential restrictions report was obtained in 2013.  Although the proposed property has not changed, it is appropriate that an updated report be prepared.  A GPS report would also be of assistance.  Mr Marsh indicated that he would willingly accept a geographical restriction, such as a prohibition on entering the North Island, if it would assist the victims.  That should be investigated and commented upon by Corrections.

9. While we are satisfied that Mr Marsh has made considerable progress in addressing his offending and meeting the challenge posed by the last Board, we are not satisfied that he has reached the point where he can safely be released.

10. Accordingly, parole is declined.  Mr Marsh’s next hearing will be during the week beginning 5 December 2016.  Of course no promises are made as to the outcome at that stage.

Hon. M A Frater
Panel Convenor