BUGDEN - Vernon Neil 10/04/14
New Zealand PAROLE BOARD
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Vernon Neil BUGDEN
Hearing 10 April 2014:
Parole Board Head Office via AVL to [withheld]
Hon J W Gendall QC - Panel Convenor
Mr D Bailey
Mr A Shaw
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Vernon Bugden is nearing the end of his sentence of two years, eight months imprisonment for wounding with intent to injure and contravention of a protection order.
He had a parole eligibility date of 19 October 2012 and the sentence end date is 28 July 2014.
2. When last seen by the Board on 14 October 2013, it was noted that he had completed the DTU programme at [withheld] but declined to undertake STURP. He was developing a release proposal and the Board supported his transfer to [withheld] where Release to Work was available.
3. Since then, Mr Bugden has enjoyed Release to Work for the past two months and by all accounts is doing well. He has a RoC*Rol of 0.70274. The psychologist's report of February 2013 records that he initially denied his offending and tended to blame his partner. In discussions with the Board today, it emerged that he places his violent offending on the fact of his abuse of alcohol. In our assessment there are wider issues. We think that his violent offending is more related to his inability to handle anger problems, and a troubling propensity to inflict violence upon women, in particular those with whom he is, or has been, in a relationship.[withheld].
4. There is a reference in some of the material before the Board that Mr Bugden's risk is high and he may not have addressed his violent tendencies. Hopefully, engagement in one-to-one psychological counselling (and he has had five sessions to date) may go some way towards that.
5. The Board's concern, however, is that in the past three and a half years whilst in the community and not in prison, he accumulated six crimes of violence. These include: wounding with intent to injure; assault with intent to injure, mostly against female partners, or ex-partners; and two breaches of protection orders. There are currently in force protection orders in respect of two women. Those are troubling indications of what the last Board has earlier said was a long history of serious violence.
6. Of course, Mr Bugden must be released on his sentence end date, but the Board has come to the view that the risk to the present victim if Mr Bugden was now released into the community is undue and not something that can be ignored.
7. Accordingly, the Board considers Mr Bugden does not at present meet the statutory criteria which would result in his early release. Parole is declined. He will be seen however in two months' time, so that the final release conditions can be fixed. In that time he, may reflect upon whether his current release plan remains adequate.
Hon JW Gendall QC