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LUKE - Denis Richard - 11/09/2015

Parole Hearing
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

Denis Richard LUKE

Hearing: 11 September 2015  via AVL from NZPB Head Office, (withheld)  to   (withheld)  Prison

Members of the Board: 

      Hon. MA Frater – Panel Convenor
      Judge M Behrens
      Assoc. Prof P Brinded
      Ms L Nathan

Counsel:  (withheld)

Support People:  (withheld)



1. Denis Richard Luke is serving a life sentence of imprisonment with minimum non-parole period of 14 years imposed in 1997 for murder. 

2. This is the second time he has been convicted of this crime.  The original sentence was imposed in 1975 and he was released 10 years later.  He was on life parole at the time he was involved with three others in the execution of Christopher Crean. 

3. Mr Luke sought to be released on parole today.

4. He was supported by his counsel, (withheld), and members of his wh‚nau.  They had met a number of hours before the hearing and worked out a comprehensive release and relapse prevention plan for him.  It now centres on release to the home of (withheld), in (withheld).  (withheld) has been approved for release purposes.  He was recently widowed and is living on his own.  He is keen to have (withheld) live with him and does not foresee any issues with that, nor is he concerned about GPS monitoring, if that were directed.

5. In prison Mr Luke has successfully completed the MTP and STURP programmes and undertaken a number of individual treatment sessions with a psychologist.

6. He was transferred to the Inner (withheld) unit in 2012 and to (withheld) Prison in August 2013.  He remained there until November 2014.  During that time he was a leader of the marae gang and travelled, with (withheld).  He also participated in escorted shopping outings and had a couple of temporary releases with wh‚nau.

7. He has held a minimum security classification since April 2012 and is not causing any problems in custody.  (withheld) read us a memo from an officer reporting on a situation where Mr Luke clearly demonstrated his ability to put into practice the lessons learned in the STURP.

8. The last Board noted that Mr Luke had health issues which he needed to address.  At that stage he had recently been diagnosed with (withheld).  Subsequently he was transferred to (withheld) Prison for further testing and so that he could undertake treatment more easily, if necessary.  In the event (withheld) has been found to be benign, but no treatment is available.

9. The writer of the latest psychological report confirmed the earlier assessment that Mr Luke poses a high-risk of violent re offending. 

10. We are very conscious of that, and, of course, cannot release an offender unless we are satisfied that his risk can be managed in the community to the extent that it will not be undue. 

11. Mr Luke has spent many years in custody, both on the previous life sentence and the current one.  Much has changed in the community since he was last incarcerated.  We accept that, through no fault of his own, (withheld), he has been unable to participate in as many temporary releases as would otherwise be desirable.  However, in our view it would clearly be unsafe to release him without giving him the opportunity to get to know the area that he hopes to be released to, and so that his release plan can be fine turned.

12. Accordingly parole is declined today.  Mr Luke’s next hearing will be scheduled for a date to be advised, in the month of June, but in any event before 31 June next year. 

13. We would support his transfer to (withheld) in the meantime. 

14. A copy of the release and re-integration plan completed today by Mr Luke’s wh‚nau is required for the next hearing. We would also benefit from an up to date psychological assessment of Mr Luke’s risk, having regard to that plan.

15. Finally, we note that we support a resumption reintegrative activities, including a return to Outer Self Care, and temporary releases for shopping, or to spend time with whanau, as deemed appropriate and safe by the Prison authorities.


Hon. MA Frater
Panel Convenor