BENNETT - Warwick Keith - 26/11/2012
BENNETT - Warwick - 26/11/2012
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Warwick Keith BENNETT
26 November 2012
Members of the Board:
Hon. M A Frater – Panel Convenor
Judge P D Mahony
Dr J Skipworth
Ms K Snook
Mr R Lewis
Decision of the Board
1. Warwick Keith Bennett, aged 55, is serving a life sentence of imprisonment for murdering his wife, Yvonne, in 1982.
2. He was sentenced in 1994, released 10 years later via the Salisbury Street Foundation and brought back to prison in April 2011 pursuant to a recall order. The recall was based on relationship issues between Mr Bennett and his wife, (withheld) which were not disclosed to his Probation Officer.
3. We saw Mr Bennett today in relation to parole. A year ago the Board concluded that he posed an undue risk to the safety of (withheld) and noted that he had no release plan, in any event.
4. In the intervening period Mr Bennett has attained a minimum security classification and has remained incident, misconduct and IDU free. He is currently working off-site with the community gang. This is a trusted position.
5. Although they are said to remain friends, his marriage to (withheld) is over. They have resolved property issues and (withheld) has moved on.
6. Significantly, Mr Bennett has been working with a psychologist, (withheld), since May of this year to address the causes of his offending. We talked to him about the work that they are doing and his understanding of his dynamic risk factors. He attributes much, if not all, of the cause of his offending to his recently diagnosed obsessive personality disorder. He says that he now accepts that he could very easily have been seen as a risk. He acknowledges that he was controlling within the relationship – he says not on everyday issues, but on decisions about ‘big ticket’ items he did have more of an input than his wife. While it is pleasing to note that Mr Bennett now sees that aspect of his personality that others have seen for many years, there is a need for caution. At his trial his counsel described him as “deceitful, manipulative, jealous and possessive”. Those aspects of his personality are significant and also need to be addressed.
7. Mr Bennett’s current counsel acknowledged that parole would and should be declined today but asked that he be brought back before the Board in six months time. This was on the basis that counselling would be completed in that period. We do not have that confidence. As we have already said, we are not satisfied that OCPD provides the complete explanation for Mr Bennett’s offending. Psychological treatment and counselling needs to continue for the foreseeable future.
8. We cannot predict the outcome of that counselling. Of course, Mr Bennett also needs to formulate a strong release and safety plan.
9. In the circumstances, we consider it premature to endorse temporary releases to the (withheld). Whether he engages in any other reintegrative interventions in the next year is a matter best left for the Prison Authorities, bearing in mind that the primary focus should be on work with his psychologist.
10. Parole is declined. Mr Bennett will be scheduled to be seen again in accordance with the statutory cycle.
Hon. M A Frater
You may apply for a review of the Board’s decision under section 67(1). The only grounds under which you may make an application for review are that the Board, in making its decision:
a) Failed to comply with procedures in the Parole Act 2002; or
b) Made an error of law; or
c) Failed to comply with Board policy resulting in unfairness to the offender; or
d) Based its decision on erroneous or irrelevant information that was material to the decision reached; or
e) Acted without jurisdiction.
To apply for a review you must write to the Board within 28 days of its decision stating which of the above ground(s) you consider to be relevant in your case and giving reasons why you believe that ground(s) applies.
Reviews are considered on the papers only. There is no hearing in respect of your Review Application.