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MOKARAKA - William Boyd - 07/11/2016

Parole hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

William Boyd MOKARAKA

Hearing: 7 November 2016 at [Withheld]

Date of Reserved Decision: 18 November 2016

Members of the Board:

  • Hon M A Frater (Panel Convenor)
  • Judge P Gittos
  • Mr P Elenio
  • Assoc. Prof. P Brinded

In attendance:

  • [Withheld]

Counsel:

  • [Withheld]

Support Persons:

  • [Withheld]
  • [Withheld]

RESERVED DECISION OF THE BOARD

1. William Boyd Mokaraka is a preventive detainee.

2. He is 45 years of age.  He has been in prison on this sentence since he was 27, but has spent relatively little time in the community since he was sentenced in 1991 to over seven years imprisonment for rape, sexual violation, escaping and possession of a knife and ammunition.

3. The crimes which led to the current sentences were committed between December 1997 and June 1998, either in public, or in the victims’ homes.  The victims were unknown to Mr Mokaraka.  The offences include male assaults female, assault with intent to commit rape, kidnapping and unlawful sexual connection.

4. When he appeared before the Board in June this year, Mr Mokaraka sought parole.  It was declined.

5. While they had no doubt about his ability as a worker, evidenced over the year he spent in [Withheld] and on Release to Work from [Withheld], and during the two months from February this year that he worked at [Withheld], the last Board was concerned about the stability [Withheld], and the lack of opportunity to test it outside the prison environment, and they urged the prison authorities to grant him temporary releases for that purpose, prior to this hearing.

6. Regrettably, that has not happened.

7. However, that does not mean that there has not been progress, either in this very important aspect of Mr Mokaraka’s reintegration, or in his position generally.  In the five months since June Mr Mokaraka has remained in the Residences and, from 21 June onwards, has been working for [Withheld], inside the wire.

8. He has also, since 24 June, been participating in weekly sessions with [Withheld].  Treatment to date has focussed on aspects of Mr Mokaraka’s relationship [Withheld], his safety plan and release considerations.

9. Until recently Mr Mokaraka proposed being released to live [Withheld]. [Withheld] said that in reaching this decision, Mr Mokaraka displayed insight and a realistic understanding of the relevant risks.

10. Mr Mokaraka now plans to live in accommodation at [Withheld], provided and supported by [Withheld], he has had time to adjust to being back in the community.  [Withheld].

11. Mr Mokaraka accepts that it is a precondition to staying in any [Withheld] property that residents participate in Bible study sessions two hours a day, five days a week and attend church on Saturdays.  He said he is not averse to this, [Withheld].  He also conceded that the pathways he has chosen for himself in the past have not worked.  He said that he is tired of jail and the people in it.

12. While we agree that Mr Mokaraka would benefit from supported accommodation, we share the reservations expressed by [Withheld] given his complex offending history, especially his sexual offending.  We also question the absence of supervision at night when Mr Mokaraka committed the most serious of his index offences.

13. The Probation Officer approved the [Withheld]  proposal in the absence of more suitably robust supported accommodation.  But that is not the test.

14. The Parole Act 2002 precludes the Board from releasing an offender unless we are satisfied that he will not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community during the remainder of his sentence.

15. As Mr Mokaraka’s sentence continues for life, we need to exercise caution.  It is not enough that the proposed accommodation is the best available if it does not manage the offender’s risk.

16. On the information currently available, we cannot be satisfied that Mr Mokaraka’s risk is other than undue.

17. Accordingly, parole is declined.

18. His next hearing will be on a date in May 2017, to be advised by the Board, and, at the latest, before the end of that month.

19. Mr Mokaraka has plenty to get on with in the meantime.

20. Obviously, his release plan needs more work.  A number of questions need to be answered.

21. First, are the concerns expressed about [Withheld] warranted in this case?  Do they understand his risk and how would they manage it?  What about supervision at night?  Could a curfew and/or GPS monitoring be managed at the proposed address?

22. Secondly, what are Mr Mokaraka’s plans with regard to work?  We know that [Withheld] would support a job application, but is work likely to be available?  And how would he prioritise work, his commitments to the kaupapa of [Withheld] and his obligations to Community Probation?  And how will he achieve a work/life balance?

23. Thirdly, what will each of his supporters do, in practical terms, to assist his reintegration?

24. These issues are probably best worked through in a whanau hui, convened by his case manager, in conjunction with his prospective probation officer, bringing together his disparate group of supporters, and all those who are, or will be involved with him in a professional capacity either now or post release.  We anticipate that as well as [Withheld] and his case manager, attendees will include [Withheld] and others from [Withheld] who are or could be involved [Withheld], Mr Mokaraka’s work supporters including, if possible, [Withheld], and, also the Probation Officer and the Corrections psychologist Mr Mokaraka would work with in the community.

25. We support Mr Mokaraka continuing to meet regularly with [Withheld] and engaging in further alcohol and drug counselling/treatment, as recommended in the Parole Addendum Report.

26. Nor do we see any reason why his application for reconsideration for Release to Work should not be progressed and, if it meets the criteria, granted.

27. We also support temporary releases to his supporters, if they become available.

28. Finally, we would hope that over the next few months the unsubstantiated allegations that Mr Mokaraka has been involved in standovers and other unacceptable behaviour will be resolved and there will be more clarity about the ongoing nature of [Withheld].

Hon M A Frater
Panel Convenor