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COULAM - Charles John - 23/11/2015


Parole hearing

Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002


Charles John COULAM

Hearing: 23 November 2015  at [withheld]

Members of the Board: 
      Alan Ritchie – Panel Convenor
      Assoc. Prof P Brinded
      Mr B McMurray
      Mr J Thomson
      Ms S Pakura

In attendance:  [withheld]


1. Charles John Coulam, 46, appeared for the further consideration of parole on his life sentence for the murder of a female tourist in 1989.

2. The victim was subjected to sexual violation before her death by strangulation.

3. The prison security classification is high and the RoC*RoI 0.49016.

4. Mr Coulam is subject to an indefinite compulsory inpatient treatment order under the Mental Health Act.  He has completed an Adapted Sex Offender Treatment Programme at [Withheld].

5. At the outset of the hearing Mr Coulam indicated to us that he had been hoping to be represented by his lawyer, [withheld].  He had understood that [withheld] would have been speaking to him in advance of this hearing and be available to represent him.  We discussed carefully with Mr Coulam the question of fairness if the hearing were to proceed.  At issue really is Mr Coulam feeling in need of some clear advice in relation to the prospect of release on compassionate grounds we will refer to that later in this decision.

6. On 17 December 2014 the Board asked for a psychological assessment report.  It noted it had already received reports from treating psychiatrists but was looking for an independent assessment of risk. We do not have that but we do have an up to date report from [withheld], a consultant psychiatrist for [withheld]

7. That report is dated [Withheld] 2015.  It reiterated issues surrounding Mr Coulam’s mental state including [Withheld].

8. It outlined progress during 2015 including a significant increase in his leaves from [withheld] including unescorted leaves on numerous occasions.

9. It advised that the continued medication over the course of the year has ensured he remains free of [Withheld]  symptoms.  There has been a gradual reduction of [Withheld]  and there has been a reduction in symptoms relating to the obsessive compulsive disorder.

10. [withheld] also commented on Mr Coulam’s diagnosis with [withheld].  There have been [withheld]  although that has now been discontinued [withheld]

11. In accordance with our assurance to Mr Coulam we are noting in this decision the effect of section 41 of the Parole Act which is that the Board may, on referral by the chairperson, direct that an offender be released on compassionate release where an offender is seriously ill and unlikely to recover.  Usually the Board will need to have advice that survival over a relatively short time is at issue.  If a referral is made then the Board still has to be satisfied in terms of risk and would need advice about how it would be managed in the community and what protective factors there would be including in relation to care for both mental and physical illnesses, accommodation, support and what have you.  [withheld]   Those recommendations were:
(a) No change is recommended to Mr Coulam’s special patient status under the Mental Health Act.
(b) There should be continuing increasing periods of time on leave in the community.
(c) The leave should be increased on a gradual basis.
(d) There could be a referral to the Open Unit at [withheld] over the next few months if the leaves progress satisfactorily.

12. Issues of obvious concern to everybody will be the adequacy of the care Mr Coulam is able to receive.

13. As things stand today, the Board cannot be satisfied that risk is other than undue and parole is declined.  We will schedule Mr Coulam to be seen in September 2016 and in any event no later than the end of that month.  As we have said the way is open for Mr Coulam to make an application under section 41 of the Act should the circumstances justify them.

14. A Psychological Report will be required for the next hearing.


Alan Ritchie
Panel Convenor