BENNETT - Warwick Keith - 27/05/2015
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Warwick Keith BENNETT
Hearing: 27 May 2015 via AVL (withheld)
Members of the Board:
Hon. M A Frater – Panel Convenor
Ms L Nathan
Dr J Skipworth
Dr P Taylor
Support People: (withheld)
In attendance: (withheld)
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. We have seen Warwick Keith Bennett again in connection with parole.
2. In 1994 a jury found him guilty of murdering his wife, Yvonne Bennett, 12 years earlier. At the time he acknowledged that he was guilty of manslaughter, but denied murder. He said that her death was an accident. He maintained that position today, but acknowledged that in the days, months and years that followed her death he behaved appallingly.
3. Mr Bennett was released on parole on 5 April 2004 but recalled to continue serving his sentence seven years later because of concerns about the risk he posed to his then wife and his superficial engagement with his Probation Officer.
4. He last appeared before the Board on 5 February. At that stage he had completed four escorted day releases to the (withheld) and was halfway through the 16 week assessment of his suitability to undertake their programme. In the circumstances the Board declined parole but re-scheduled him to be seen by this Board in anticipation of his completing the assessment, and receiving a report on his progress there and recommendations for the future.
5. Mr Bennett did well at (withheld). (withheld), the director of the programme, who has known Mr Bennett since he lived in the (withheld) flats prior to his first release, talked about his engagement with both staff and residents and his participation on the programme. She said that she was impressed by his thoughtful responses and disappointed when he had to return to custody at the end of the assessment period. She confirmed that a bed was available for him immediately. She said that if paroled to (withheld), he could remain in the programme for anything between six months and two years, depending on his progress and assessed need.
6. Community Probation support Mr Bennett’s release to (withheld) and have not recommend that he be subject to either residential restrictions or GPS monitoring there.
7. Mr Bennett sought parole and, after careful consideration, we are satisfied the statutory test for granting release is met in his case.
8. Mr Bennett does not pose a risk to the community in general. His risk has been and will continue to be to women with whom he forms a relationship. It is therefore important that those who support him and monitor him are aware right at the start of any relationship so that they are hyper-vigilant for and pick up signs of controlling, domineering or violent behaviour. We have therefore included the special condition proposed by Community Probation concerning disclosure of relationships, rather than restricting it to disclosure of intimate or de facto relationships, as suggested by Mr Bennett’s counsel.
9. Because of the nature of Mr Bennett’s offending, his recall and his assessed high score on the psychotherapy check list, we have decided not only that a face to face monitoring hearing is warranted, but also that he should be subject to special conditions, with the extra monitoring by a Probation Officer that were necessarily follow, for an extended period of 10 years post release.
10. Mr Bennett will be released on parole on 22 June next, subject to the standard conditions set out in Section 14 of the Parole Act 2002 for life and the following special conditions. Unless otherwise specified, the special conditions will continue for 10 years post release.
11. The special conditions are:
(1) To reside at (withheld) and not to move from that or any other approved address without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(2) To undertake and complete the (withheld) programme to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and the provider and comply with the rules of the (withheld).
(3) To attend a Psychological assessment and complete any recommended treatment/counselling to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer and treatment provider. The details of the counselling or treatment to be determined by the Probation Officer.
(4) To attend and complete any other the treatment/counselling (including relationship counselling) directed by your Probation Officer, to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer and treatment provider. The details of the treatment/counselling to be determined by the Probation Officer.
(5) To notify your Probation Officer prior to starting, terminating or changing your position or place of employment.
(6) Not to have contact or otherwise associate with the family of the victim of your offending, directly or indirectly, without the prior written consent of your Probation Officer.
(7) To notify your Probation Officer of any relationships/ associations with females and the details and nature of any such relationship/ associations.
(8) To attend a hearing in November 2015, 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. A written report from Mr Bennett’s Probation Officer is required prior to the hearing.
Hon. M A Frater