EASTHAM - Tristin Lee - 18/08/15
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Tristin Lee EASTHAM
Hearing: 18 August 2015
at (withheld) Prison
Members of the Board: Mr N Trendle – Panel Covenor
Ms G Hughes
Mr R Crotty
Mr S Perry
Support Persons: (withheld)
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Tristin Lee Eastham, who is 26 years of age, is making his first appearance before the Board on a sentence of five years 11 months’ imprisonment for manslaughter. Mr Eastham becomes eligible for parole on 19 August 2015, and he has a statutory release date of 17 August 2018.
2. Mr Eastham’s offending arose as a result of an incident in September 2012 near a bar in (withheld). He was involved in an altercation and used a homemade knife to fatally stab his victim.
Mr Eastham has accumulated some 17 convictions since 2006 with a RoC*RoI of 0.45313. He has a worrying history of breach of community-based sentences in the past. This is, however, his first term of imprisonment. He was recorded in the parole assessment report as waitlisted to attend the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme and the Drug Treatment Programme. We learn today that he has recently commenced that programme.
3. Mr Eastham was represented today by counsel, (withheld), who told the Board that Mr Eastham accepted that he should complete the programme. Accordingly, he did not seek parole. He had earlier participated in the Alcohol and Other Drug Intermediate Programme. [withheld] said that Mr Eastham was highly motivated to complete the MIRP. He accepted there was also work for him to do to deal with substance abuse. To that end counsel had arranged for an assessment to be made of his needs on the basis that should an alternative to the Drug Treatment Unit be recommended, Mr Eastham seek to make an application under section 26 of the Parole Act to return to the Board earlier than scheduled.
4. Prior to the hearing the Board met with the mother of Mr Eastham’s victim who had earlier made a written submission. There is no doubt that Mr Eastham’s crime affected not just (withheld), but also a number of the young adult community in the (withheld). They are still affected by what happened that night. The (withheld) posed the question what kind of person would have a highly sharpened double-edged knife with him in public and then use it in the way he did. She remained concerned that there was no sense of Mr Eastham taking responsibility for his actions, particularly when interviewed by the Police when he lied and sought to blame others. He demonstrated a complete lack of victim empathy or remorse thereafter. She expressed concern if he was permitted to enter the [withheld] area when he was released from prison.
5. Mr Eastham acknowledged those concerns, and said that he had expressed his willingness to meet with members of his victim’s family in a restorative justice context.
6. Mr Eastham was supported at the hearing by members of (withheld). At this stage, however, he accepts that there is considerable work for him to do to reduce his risk before the Board could seriously consider him for parole.
7. Parole is declined. Even allowing for the strong family support available to him, the Board is well short of being satisfied that he would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community if he were to be released.
8. Mr Eastham will be scheduled to return to the Board in July 2016. Whilst he has the right to seek an early hearing as indicated by his counsel, the Board notes that he also confirmed his motivation to attend the Drug Treatment Unit programme. Should the opportunity become available to him, he would be well advised to seriously consider it.
Mr N Trendle